Delicious 2002 / Angel Air 2014
Getting their act tighter and feeling their way forward, the ballroom blitz gang enter new millennium.
Mighty as they’ve been, Andy Scott’s troupe didn’t try and compete with glam metallers who came in their wake but when the rock plains got dryer in the Noughties, the veterans decided to have their say. 1992’s "The Answer" was the sign of the ensemble’s tenacity, yet it took the band another decade to deliver a follow-up which offered the faithful and newly initiated alike an interesting perspective of things past and future. Shaped conceptually, with the title track opening and the vaudevillian instrumental “Sweetlife Overunderture” closing the songs cycle, the former as an acoustically driven dewy-eyed ballad and the latter as the album is full of cautious optimism, where “So Far So Good” echoes the sentiment of “Do It All Over Again” with their glam undercurrent given an AOR polish despite all the guitar rock ‘n rolling, and the lucid, Scott-sung “Leap Of Faith” soars on the harmonic chorus.
It may look like the group started following their own followers, “Everybody Wants To Be Someone” melding big riffs and non-English proverbs to nervous vocals and “Everything” treading the power ballad waters, albeit with grace, while “Never Say Forever” loses its defiance to the arena bravado which nicely dissolves in a six-string romance. But Jeff Brown’s voice on the quasi-operatic “You’re Crazy” sounds magnificent as does his bass that, together with Bruce Bisland’s heavy drums, perforate Steve Grant’s piano and the leader’s sharp chords, and “Airheads!” taps into the classic glamour by effectively rewriting the “All The Young Dudes” anthemity. The old SWEET’s sensitivity seeps slightly through “Neon Psychedelia” yet its chest-beating may be too exhibionist to many a fan whose joy should be based on the fact that their heroes are still at it.