I admit it, Sweet has always been a legendary name from the 70s to nowadays, even if not many members from the original line-up are still in; yet some of their songs were too light or simple to put them on the top of my favourite list, notwithstanding 34 number 1 hit singles, over 55 million records sold, and the influence on Kiss, Motley Crue and several others. Things are a bit different with this album, the Brits' tightest record, now remastered after it's been long sold out and available only at outrageous prices on LP; with this occasion Angel Air records has decided to delight us with three bonus tracks, showing diverse versions of songs already appearing on this CD bringing the length to more than 74 minutes of angelic, heady and rocking music, as well as informative sleeve notes being the icy on the cake!
After a dark untitled intro (pretty unusual for this genre), "The Answer" (originally just "A") starts with "Do As I Say", opened by a pachidermic riff, a great refrain and solo conquering everybody together with humpbacks similar to the way create with their keyboards and hrythmic set; the lyrics are a mantra coming from many parents claiming not to follow their example and behave better than them.
The speed becomes faster and the magical refrain takes no prisoners with the hedbanger hit "X-Ray Specs", where the guitar licks are an expression of supreme skill in songwriting and performance; you can literally feel they've put their soul here; there's an amazing solo and the drummer is having no pauses, as well as the guitars licking till the fading out.
While "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again" shows a Rock 'n' Roll facade of the band that Status Quo's fans will appreciate for sure, too, "Stand up" winks at Glam rock, bringing the style back to older times. Another killer song!
The new drummer replacing Mick Tucker previously served Falco, Eric Burdon and The McAuley Schenker Group uses electronic percussion effects on "Nouveau Rock Star", therefore keeping the song with one foot in the Pop Rock and the Hard rock of the rest of the platter, together with some vocals; sometims the song reminds me of Def Leppard, sometimes of Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Talking Heads in a blender, but I invite you not to misunderstand me because this is positive criticism, making the set of songs various and interesting.
All the more with "Natural", a ballad with Hawaiian guitars and tunes and a delicate rhythimc section and a second slightly amplified guitar; there's an additional part with majestic keyboards and a guitar solo and a heavier structure, but it's just for a few seconds before the initial theme takes over again and organ-like keys mixed with martial drums close the track.
"Mind" is a piano-introduced Hard rock composition where liquid vocals contrast with the loud drums; once again the refrain is the peak of the song and in my opinion the best; see it as The Eagles were dealing with Glam rock...
"Marshall Stack" opened the original B-side on the vinyl and is bound to rejoice Spinal Tap's, AC/DC's lovers (and even Raven's!); it has to be sung with one arm high above your heads and the forefinger tilted to the sky, you dig me?
Glam rock galore with "Red Tape", embellished by a scorching axe solo and a refrain kicking our arses directly to the seventies, refelecting the freedom and peace of mind we used to have, when everything was easy and working.
"When Friends Fall out" counts on soft Hawaiian and Country rock vague echoes, and was thus probably directed to satisfy the north American audience into this genre.
"Is It True" veers toward AOR territories and - almost needless to say - hits the bull one more time; I like the vocals, male and rough, leading this song, even if I don't know whose they are, as everyone in the band except the skinbeater was behind a microphone in the studio (and live).
The keyboards make way to the heavy main riff characterizing "Dangerous Game", and the vocals, strophes and refrain play the lion's share, even though the tough and insistent drums also deserve a mention.
The second ballad, "I Don't Want To Say Goodnight", is especially appeasable to the listeners out of the USA and Canada, and when you listen to that you'll get better why I'm writing this.
"Crudely Mott" pays a tribute to the early Motley Crue like the title suggests, and I don't remember The Sweet having done the same elsewhere before or later. It sounds like a collage and not a real song, and is simply aimed to close the album.
Time for the three bonus tracks now: "Marshall Stack" is presented with an alternative ending, "Do As I Say" is included with the single mix, whereas "Stand up" is offered as a guitar-squealing irresistible Hard rock version with the drums pumping like never before.
From this moment I will look at The Sweet in a different light and will consider looking for more material off them; but I am partly justified by the fact I was just a kid when the British act was the top of its popularity in the 70s, aren't I?