Matthew Sweet approaches power-pop like an archaeologist on a dig, determined to uncover something important and lost from decades past. He sure knows his old records, yet Sweet always sorts out his inner muse from the influences. Living Things, written while Sweet was recording the Thorns album with Pete Droge and Shawn Mullins, is a gentler Sweet. In the past he empowered tunes with layers of scraping electric guitars; Living Things opts for a milder approach. Sweet recorded the bare tracks with drummer Ric Menck at home and then had ace musician Greg Leisz overdub mandolin, mandola and slide guitar for Sweet's most adventurous album to date. The teaming with legendary producer-arranger Van Dyke Parks (Beach Boys, Randy Newman) adds a whimsical, spontaneous element to the subdued textures and longing sentiment. "You're Not Sorry" is Sweet at his most achingly direct, then "Dandelion" follows with splashes of ornate psychedelia, Parks derailing the melody with anarchic piano, Sweet following with wayward Theremin.
By Frank Valish on 08.26.14 in Features
How the musician's split personality and the controversial film 'Caligula' influenced 'Altered Beast.'
By Barry Walters on 08.26.08 in Reviews
Matthew Sweet's 10th album isn't exactly innovative, but it is what this Los Angeles-based musical conservationist does best — '60s-rooted folk-rock sounds revived with an urgency that transcends tradit...
By Louis Pattison on 02.26.15 in Features
The metal legends talk about their history through the prism of eight songs.
By Robert Ham on 02.25.15 in Features
From Shania Twain to Patrick Wolf, these musicians couldn't leave well enough alone and rerecorded their work.