“As on all the tracks, Roelle doesn’t just sing and play; he paints a picture and invites you to join him for dance and a beer in his big, weird world.”
With their wily charm and crafty tunes, Sneaky Creatures have grown into one of Tahoe’s most unique and popular musical acts. On their long-anticipated debut album, “Dirt Circus,” the septet’s familiar carnival of sound is preserved to perfection. Much like their live shows, it’s chock-full of inventive, eccentric music that would be as welcome in a 1920’s speakeasy as on La Playa in Black Rock Desert.
Led by front man and guitarist Josh Roelle’s distinctively amusing songwriting and delivery, the band combines big band brass with gypsy jazz and hip-hop rhymes to produce a fascinating blend that somehow feels both silly and cultured at the same time. On the single, “Caravan,” he persuades listeners over punchy bass, groovy keyboards and a New Orleans horn section to sample the nomadic life for a while.
“As on all the tracks, Roelle doesn’t just sing
and play; he paints a picture and invites you to join
him for dance and a beer in his big, weird world.”
With “Dirt Circus,” he plays the carnival barker to a soundtrack that welcomes you to the best Sierra Nevada hippie festival ever. The loungy “Desert Island Girl” provides a humorous romp through what he would bring along if stranded alone on a desert island. As on all the tracks, Roelle doesn’t just sing and play; he paints a picture and invites you to join him for dance and a beer in his big, weird world.
The best part of all is that Roelle doesn’t let his tremendous talent get in the way of his superior sense of humor. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than on “Crack O’ Noon,” on which he invites us to meet him for a Bloody Mary after some late-night partying.
“Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey, I wanna meet up but not too soon/No, we’re not the dawn patrol, crack o’ noon is the way we roll,” he sings over a funky, catchy back beat.
“Dirt Circus” proves that the Sneaky Creatures are more than just a band; they are an extraordinary experience, a world unto themselves, an invitation to imagination for all to share. It beckons music lovers to join in the Sneakies in their freaky speakeasy jubilee and, frankly, I don’t mind if I do.
Sneaky Creatures’ Dirt Circus Album Release Party is March 11 at Moe’s Original BBQ in Tahoe City. They also perform March 18 at the Crystal Bay Club in support of the equally bizarre, yet danceable, Pimps of Joytime and Big Sam’s Funky Nation (see March Music Madness feature in this issue).
For more information, visit sneakycreatures.com.