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Friday, 9 February 2018

Various - Altered Sweet : A Tribute To Matthew Sweet (2CD)

I think most know that I'm not a Tribute album lover, they have to be really really good to perk my interest and this more than does that. I'm a massive Matthew Sweet fan, a big admirer of what Keith does with the Futureman label and the line up here is Power Pop Heaven. So that's three reasons to buy eh?

Matthew Sweet, himself, may have been in indifferent form lately, but here you get an inkling of how strong a songwriter he is. Although not always looked at as Power Pop, he's a bit noisier at times, these songs naturally lend themselves to the field. Great guitar breaks and he's one of the best chorus writers around.

I used to say that the ideal match would be Jason Falkner and Sweet, the former writing the verses, the latter the choruses. You do realise here that Sweet's body of work easily allows 27 songs without any boredom creeping in. There's a lot to be said for a third disc opportunity for the missing songs.

So where do I start? This is really hard because the line up is like a Roll Call for the I Don't Hear A Single Blog. I've already trailed a couple of songs on the different week's Radio Shows, namely Nick Piunti and Michael Simmons, so I'll not include those as embedded songs here.

There are some surprises in who does what. I expected Greg Pope to launch into something like Come To California, instead he goes for an inspired version of the understated Not When I Need It. Likewise, Andy Reed is usually understated, here he rocks into a superb, Where You Get Love.

Then there are the different takes on songs. Simple Friend do a great acoustic jangly Sick Of Myself, very different to the caustic original. Elvyn's Time Capsule is Losing My Religion like. Popdudes do a wonderful Country West Coast sounding I Almost Forgot.

There are the female artists who never fail to connect. Lisa Mychols a great Bass Guitar driven Susanna Hoffs like, Looking At The Sun. Gretchen's Wheel cover Walk Out, showcasing that Lindsay voice which sounds Chrissie McVie like here.

Also here are the more faithful versions. The Well Wishers riff out on All Over My Head, ditto Nick Bertling on a splendidly noisy, Falling. My favourite Matthew Sweet song is Someone To Pull The Trigger and Chris Richards And The Subtractions offer up a storming cover, an absolute joy.

If I could mention everyone I would, these are all artists beloved to IDHAS. I feel guilty for not, but every one of these 27 songs is worth hearing. Altered Sweet is a cracking listen. It reminds me of why Power Pop is so good. It's the quality of the artists, the songs and the pure feel good factor.

Here's hoping that people go further and delve into the songs from these artists and discover the joy that I get. Hopefully, people will also discover Matthew Sweet's Back Catalogue. It isn't just about Girlfriend.

Finally, artists don't always like the Power Pop Tag and outsiders don't get what it is. Concerning the latter, each should be given this album and they will realise what they are missing. You can listen to and buy the album here and it's a bargain price.

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