Matthew Sweet's latest album, 2008's Sunshine Lies, is sprinkled with the same psyched-out, jangly pop that fans have come to expect from him. But overall, Lies is Sweet's most rough-edged, raw and rambunctious effort since his commercial pinnacle, 1995's 100% Fun. Songs like "Room to Rock" and "Flying" have more in common with the riff-heavy grooves of the New York Dolls or the MC5 than the head-bobbing pop eccentricities of the Beatles or the Byrds, although Sweet's voice takes well to the slapback vocal delay and super-fuzz guitar tones that come with this territory. Add in some superb musicianship by Television guitarist Richard Lloyd and Velvet Crush drummer Ric Menck (two long-time Sweet collaborators), and it becomes even more puzzling why this album flew under the radar of most critics last year. Sweet will continue this '70s-centric vibe on the July 21-release Under the Covers, Vol. 2, part two of his covers series with Bangles lead singer Susanna Hoffs.
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