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Sweet - 'Sweetlife' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/9a/02/a3/sweet-sweetlife-97-1413145046.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 12, 2014    
 
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Still ably demonstrate what fine versions of this band Andy Scott has put together over the years.

Seven years on from their AOR flavoured 1992 release ‘The Answer’ (also known as ‘A’ and ‘Dangerous Games’), Sweet were back with another collection of new tracks and, of course, a few line-up changes. This time, gone were lead vocalist Mal McNulty and keyboard player Steve Mann, with bassist Jeff Brown (following the path of bassist to vocalist laid out previously by McNulty) adding lead vocals to his talents, while Steve Grant took up the spot behind the keys. As with every previous reshuffling, a change of musical tack was also in evidence, with neither the Heavy Metal style initially adopted when long standing Sweet guitarist Andy Scott first resuscitated the band, nor the pure AOR which made ‘...Answer’ so irresistible, fully in evidence. Instead ‘Sweetlife’ landed somewhere in between, while also reintroducing some more immediately identifiable Sweet flavours, especially in the vocal department.

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Again, as proved by Angel Air’s other recent Sweet re-issues, what is most apparent about ‘Sweetlife’ is just how much better this album is when compared against the generally perceived wisdom of the era, the likes of ‘Never Say Forever’ containing wonderful staccato piano bursts, stabs of layered vocals and soaring lead work from Scott as drummer Bruce Bisland lays down a simple beat that plants things firmly to the floor. Grant’s keys-work throughout brings a real sense of the Glam glory days of Sweet’s past, however it is the layers and layers of vocals which infuse ‘Airheads!’, ‘Neon Psychedelia’ (which isn’t quite as Spacey as its title suggests) and the album title track with a real vintage Sweet sound. Truth be told, the plethora of voices may also be intended to slightly disguise the limitations of Brown’s vocal skills, for while he does a decent job of nailing down the chant along sections, a lack of any real character in his delivery does leave things a little less engaging when he’s asked to truly take centre stage.

Although it possibly not quite as sparkling and attention grabbing as ‘...Answer’, ‘Sweetlife’ does still ably demonstrate what fine versions of this band Andy Scott has put together over the years. If you’ve heard their most recent studio effort, ‘New York Connection’, you’ll know it’s a knack he’s retained to this very day.

Steven Reid

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