The Sneetches were formed in San Francisco in 1985 by Mike Levy and Matt Carges, punk veterans who now preferred to indulge their love of pop and melody, initially as a studio project. In the era of grunge and hardcore, the musician’s heroes constituted The Zombies, Easybeats, The Monochrome Set, Nilsson and others, as Levy’s songwriting proffered a similar bittersweet blend of musical melody and lyrical misanthropy.
With the addition of Englishmen Daniel Swan (in 1986) and Alec Palao (in 1988), the lineup was complete and began to perform around the Bay Area. Appropriately, their debut release, the mini-LP Lights Out!, recorded by Levy and Carges, was also issued in the U.K.
While that record was a rough and ready indie production, The Sneetches’ subsequent albums Sometimes That’s All We Have and Slow were expertly produced, carefully nuanced collections that gained the players notices home and abroad. Several tours of the U.S. along with visits to Europe and Japan in the early 1990s, and live and studio collaborations with Shoes and Flamin’ Groovies, cemented the band’s reputation as idiosyncratic powerpop of the highest order. The band’s final release was Blow Out The Sun in 1994.
With a playlist handpicked by the band themselves, Form Of Play draws on the group’s recordings for Creation, Alias, Bus Stop, spinART, and other labels, with rare mixes and five previously unreleased cuts.
The fully remastered set is illustrated with unseen photos and comes with a personalized liner notes by Grammy®-nominated producer Palao, who also oversaw the assembly of the compilation.
In his notes, Palao states, “I don’t really know what, if any, legacy our band has. We didn’t sell many records, we certainly weren’t a big live draw, and we were never participants in any kind of celebrated ‘scene.’ Otherwise, this compilation would be a big box set, the interweb would report Mike Levy’s periodic emergence from rehab, and there’d be glowing testimonials, crowing that The Sneetches were the first to do “soundtrack pop.” Actually, someone did mention the latter to me not long ago. It’s a compliment to be sure, but it wasn’t much help at the time, when we were peddling pop in the face of grunge. As a child of punk rock, I loved energy but I couldn’t abide this sludgy new variant. So The Sneetches became a welcome respite from all of that. The songwriting skill and the delicate approach were familiar to me from so many of the vintage records I already owned and cherished, and so I relished the opportunity to contribute to such a project.”