MATTHEW SWEET100% Fun
THE CIRCA 1974 cover photo gives away Sweet's musical world even before the first melodic swipes of his guitar and vocal chords--this is innocent lollipop stuff, right down to the wistful Fourth of July snapshot on the insert. Sweet's smooth ditties aren't just reminiscent of the best '70s British power-pop, they're almost carbon-copy takes on 10CC and Badfinger--with some late Beatles (and America's Jules & The Polar Bears) thrown in. Only some out-of-place lead guitar wankings mitigate the expertly constructed toe-tappers, and Sweet's layered-upon-himself harmony vocals on "Giving It Back" are especially spine tingling. What would happen if the kids found out this has been done before?
QUEENAt The BBC
QUITE IN CONTRAST to the resplendent Beatles BBC box-set, this eight song release is of more humble origin. All the tracks would later show up on the first few Queen albums, so only the fact that these are early demo-like versions will be of interest to the diehard fan. The sound quality is very good throughout--these weren't "live in the studio" recordings--and the performances are also top-notch. The first four tracks are especially interesting, since they were recorded in early 1973 before the band signed a record deal. These early sessions show a band on the (commercial) way up, and the rest is metal-glam-kitsch history.
THE MEATMENPope On A Rope
IF ROLLINS IS Sinatra, then Tesco Vee is Don Rickles. Nothing is sacred. He grunts and snarls his musings on pedophile priests (title cut), necrophilia ("Some Like It Cold"), '90s race relations ("Petrified Whitey"), etc. He bites the hand that cues his CD: the "College Radio Loser" who plays hip one-syllable bands like Live, Lush and Blur, and who "was in the room/When the bass player from Superchunk had sex/With my girlfriend." And the band rocks in the mightiest of traditions. "Ball Peen Baby" echoes B.O.C's classic "Buck's Boogie" (great slide riff, too). Then they pull out all the stops covering "Hot Rails To Hell." Wait'll you see the stage show at the DPC on Sunday night.
SUBLIMATE YOUR URGE to punch Tanya Donnelly's buck-toothed smirk outta ubiquity (i.e., the eight recent Belly fashion-shoot magazine covers) into obscurity (where she belongs with her saccharine anthems). Cue, instead, track No. 6, "The Bees." Gentle and midtempo, brimming with a Laurel Canyonesque strum 'n' hum acoustic arrangement, it offers such stark lyrical epiphanies as, "So I'm your best friend/You love me and/Well I'll tell you something/We're on the road to messy...Beware beware/Beware of me." Later in "Now They'll Sleep," a swirly-fuzzy bit of by-the-numbers Alterna-psych, she passively warbles, "When the mirror talks to me/I listen with my heart."
My God. They cloned Stevie Nicks.
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