Matthew Sweet – Living Things

Nebraskan psych-popper hits form

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Sweet will always hold a soft spot in the hearts of power-pop aficionados for Girlfriend (1991), a model of guitar-pop concision that remains a crucial link between Big Star and latterday practitioners like Velvet Crush. But since 1999’s In Reverse, Sweet has purveyed altogether denser, more erudite sonic territory. Living Things, with Van Dyke Parks on keys and accordion (and featuring a potpourri of theremin, harpsichord etc), is as ambitious and compelling as psych-tinged pop gets, a merry-go-round of daring pop hooks housed in inventive swirls of sound. Call it Emitt Rhodes for the 21st century.

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