British version of venerable glamsters harden their veneer and recreate their glorious past.
Looks like there’s a competition between Steve Priest’s and Andy Scott’s fractions of SWEET, with the latter, based in the U.K., trying to musically cross the Pond to the side where the former is situated. In the span of one year, the guitarist-led collective served up a covers set, "New York Connection", and follow it with a concert reconstruction of the original ensemble’s seminal album. Released under two titles and with two different artworks, this album reflects the dichotomy of “Boulevard”, which was all new in Europe but comprised only a part of fresh songs in the USA, the rest of it fleshed out with cuts from “Sweet Fanny Adams”, and it’s the American record that’s being reproduced here – with some tweaks and a few quibbles.
Its provenance notwithstanding, the LP signaled SWEET’s shift from heavy pop band to serious rock group, and when their current Blighty incarnation storm into “Sweet F.A.”, with powerful abandon and axes blazing, it’s impossible not to recall what the “Fanny Adams” euphemism stands for, although the real emotional surge comes once bassist Pete Lincoln ups the tone for the buleria of “The Six Teens” and chases away the ghost of Brian Connolly. More so, vocal harmonies swirls as infectiously as ever in “Ballroom Blitz” (would Steve in the roll call be Priest?) and “Fox On The Run”, yet for all the classic status of the material it’s obvious the superiority of hits over the album songs, no matter how hard heroic the quartet deliver these, keyboardist Tony O’Hora picking up a second guitar for the likes of “Into The Night” where Scott roars mightily. So the rediscovery sensation is rare here, although in “Set Me Free” and “Restless” the reckless soloing does the trick.
For some artists, getting back to their erstwhile glories doesn’t work; for SWEET it does – highlighting the past rather than tarnishing it. Those bases covered, a new album would be more than welcome.