SWEET – Isolation Boulevard

Prudential 2021

SWEET –
Isolation Boulevard

Invigorated by lockdown, veteran glam rockers find another way to avoid delivering a new album.

SWEET have been there: their last studio offering was the deceptively, albeit on-the-money, titled "Hits" which showcased the band’s previous line-up and which shares nine tracks with its follow-up – a display of the ensemble’s new members. Surely, joining guitarist Andy Scott and drummer Bruce Bisland, former ARENA warbler Paul Manzi and SHY’s singer Lee Small on bass are very capable in handling the classics, yet there’s the usual roll call in the beginning of “Ballroom Blitz” – not the current list of names – so no matter how skillful today’s foursome can be, fans will always long for the original quartet. Just because the youthful exuberance exuded by the old unit outshone any professional deficiency they might have had.

Of course, today’s group aren’t able to tour – hence the record’s title – and it wouldn’t make sense to bring “Desolation Boulevard” to stage anyway, as they already did this, only that’s hardly an excuse to work on a fresh material. Instead, they chose a route trodden more than the path to their local pub, and while listening for the umpteenth time such irresistible numbers as “Love Is Like Oxygen” and “Fox On The Run” – given punchy maturity, if no creative boost, now – is great, the innocence fragrance of “Teenage Rampage” and “The Six Teens” has all but worn out long ago, before Andy’s locks turned white. What’s possibly greater, though – or at least, of greater interest – is upgrades of relatively recent tunes: the cover of "New York Groove" and “Still Got The Rock” – a couple of muscular stompers trying to rival the present likes of “Blockbuster” and “Action” whose meatier sound doesn’t disappoint.

The thing that does is these veterans’ desire to live in the past – on those ever-reliable and indelible glories – and not cook up an album of unfamiliar delights.

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April 20, 2021

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