Glam is about to be seriously rehabilitated. Simon Reynolds, author of books on post-punk and rave, is about to apply the same forensic scrutiny to 48 Crash, Blockbuster and others on a tome entitled Shock And Awe. So it’s a good time for these OGs (Original Glamsters) to return, with a revamp of their 2012 covers album.
It’s not Sweet as we knew them in their camp heyday, just guitarist and singer Andy Scott (founder member and bassist Steve Priest tours with his own version of Sweet), plus hired hands on bass, guitar/keyboards and drums, but the latter – respectively Pete Lincoln, Tony O’Hora and Bruce Bisland – acquit themselves well, especially when it comes to the tricky business of replicating that dense wall of Sweet harmonies and pop bombast.
There’s a loose New York theme to the album (which includes three new tracks), with covers of songs either about the city or by NY artists. They run the gamut of styles, but the band manage to Sweet-ify them all, starting with New York Groove by denim-clad British glamsters Hello, which also skilfully interpolates Jay-Z/Alicia Keys’ Empire State Of Mind.
Patti Smith’s Because The Night is faithful to the original, although the Velvets’ Sweet Jane is reduced to Chinnichap boogie (actually, it sounds like Billy Idol). Blitzkrieg Bop posits the theory that Ramones were the punk-era’s Sweet, all matching outfits and ironic dumbness.
Black Keys’ Gold On The Ceiling is best, because it sounds most like golden-age Sweet, circa Ballroom Blitz. Shock And Awe indeed./o:p