Friday, October 1, 2010

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"Sweet Amorous Music" (music review by Lee Boyle)

Sweet Amorous Music

The Sweet AM is a southern-rock style band with an album which has recently turned up in Indie Wax Records in Youngstown, Ohio. The album is entitled West. The band has a very themed sound and well-executed harmonies present in most of their works. Also frequent in most songs are love lyrics which, in listening formally to the album, seem to address the same love interest in each track. We’ve all heard albums which seem to be dedicated to one relationship, one passion or one idea. With this mindset, West speaks to a certain mood. It is the kind of album which plays while a listener sits on a porch during sunset. It is played in the car while driving over rolling hills. It is played in the background while two people rekindle in a coffee shop, in a banquet hall when one sits in the corner with no partner for a dance. The album is romantic and sad.
Sporting the ethics of modern country music from the last couple decades, The Sweet AM comes off a bit quirky because of an abundant application of background vocals and rhythmically-oriented placement of lyrics. The traditional implementation of highlights expresses an unexpected edge. Many of the pretty guitar licks and background melodies do not smooth over the tracks like might have been intended. Instead, there is a sound in the singer’s voice which reminds of Dog’s Eye View, Barenaked Ladies or Crash Test Dummies. The album doesn’t necessarily pigeonhole this band into a dated, 1990s sound as much as it takes a sincere, open-ended recording style from the era and does something modern with it. This modernization of this sound is most present in the track, “Moon And Chicken.” The darkly love-ridden croons of Soul Asylum or Hootie And The Blowfish are saddled down and applied to a more dance-friendly sound. A trace of roughness is preserved, but is not overdone; no dramatic tangents or contrived moments of soulfulness.

Musicianship sharp, lyrics straightforward, atmosphere well-themed, The Sweet AM teaches the listener the value of the twanged, sad love song. West is instantly canonized in the collection of southern rock which beckons the heart. Check it out if you are a craving a mindset which is temporarily lost in today’s music. The album is available on iTunes and at Indie Wax.

-Lee Boyle