Magazine article The New Yorker

Simpler Pleasures

Magazine article The New Yorker

Simpler Pleasures

Article excerpt

Last year, the power-pop luminary Matthew Sweet joined forces with Shawn Mullins and Pete Droge to form the Thorns, a soft-headed soft-rock band that received plenty of attention but left no lasting impression at all. Sweet's most recent solo album, however, finds him writing more of the indelibly gorgeous, lovelorn songs that sent his star into ascendance a dozen years ago with his album "Girlfriend." So why isn't the solo record getting more publicity? Because it was released only in Japan. "Kimi Ga Suki * Raifu" (Cutting Edge) was written in a week and intended as a gift for Sweet's Japanese fans. The opener, "Dead Smile," gives the record a running start, with plaintive vocals and Ric Menck's propulsive drumming. Songs like "Morning Song" and "Wait" find Sweet revisiting the rootsier side of "Girlfriend," particularly in the generous use of slide guitar, and "Love Is Gone" distills his best instincts with a lovely melody and aching harmonies. …

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