Tuesday, November 8, 2011

CD Review: Matthew Sweet - Modern Art

First, an update about Good Ol’ Freda, a documentary about Freda Kelly, who once reigned as the Secretary of The Official Beatles Fan Club. Kelly and the filmmakers are hoping to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter to help cover their production costs. Anyone interested in participating will have to act fast, because Good Ol’ Freda needs to meet its goal by November 11th. With three days left to go, Good Ol Freda has reached the $43,420 mark. If they don’t reach $50,000, they won’t get any of the pledges.

And now on to a review I originally did for the Illinois Entertainer of Matthew Sweet’s new CD.

Matthew Sweet’s first release in three years (other than his 2009 Under The Covers: Vol. 2 collaboration with Susanna Hoffs) is a collection of easy-going, introspective songs. Sweet does most of the work, with help from Dennis Taylor on guitar and longtime friend, veteran power pop musician Ric Menck on drums. Fans looking for energetic fare like “Girlfriend” may find Modern Art a bit slow at times, but it’s definitely worth exploring.

The complex title track is most notable for Sweet’s fluid piano playing, and he also crafts a delicate beauty on the ballad, “A Little Death.” His melodies and layered vocals are consistently enticing, but it’s hard not to notice the similarity among several tracks. The blues-rock fun of “Ladyfingers,” along with the careening guitars and fervent vocals on “Ivory Tower” offer welcome changes of pace. But “She Walks The Night,” a ghost story set to a chiming arrangement worthy of The Byrds, is the true masterpiece on Modern Art.


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