Sweet - Sensational Sweet album review

They could kill you with a wink of their eye

Cover art for Sweet - Sensational Sweet album

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Subtitled, somewhat optimistically, Chapter 1: The Wild Bunch, what we have here is a massive nine-disc set that serves to remind us what was wrong with The Sweet, a band much maligned by the contemporary rock press throughout their early-70s heyday: absolutely nothing. Sure, there was a five year false start – if you can call a modus operandi that netted six chart hits a false start – but from the dawn of ‘73 (when their Blockbuster narrowly beat David Bowie’s The Jean Genie to the top of the UK singles chart using the same riff) until the summer of ‘74, this cannily cosmetic-caked quartet, operating under the auspices of RAK Records songwriting team Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, fashioned five of the glam era’s finest 45s. Which in turn engendered some of Top Of The Pops’ defining moments – guitarist Steve Priest’s mugging to camera simply never gets old. Maybe they didn’t have the worthy muso authenticity of Zeppelin, but when faced with a Hellraiser, a Ballroom Blitz or a Teenage Rampage, what self-respecting 13-year-old cared what the dull old man with the droopy moustache and the Robert Johnson record from Melody Maker thought?

While there’s significant ballast in this trove of material from ’71-78 (all the hits, all the albums, all the rarities, all the rest), there’s also The Six Teens, and if you don’t feel the need to own that then, quite frankly, you and your 27-minute live version of Dazed And Confused deserve each other.

Ian Fortnam

Classic Rock’s Reviews Editor for the last 20 years, Ian stapled his first fanzine in 1977. Since misspending his youth by way of ‘research’ his work has also appeared in such publications as Metal Hammer, Prog, NME, Uncut, Kerrang!, VOX, The Face, The Guardian, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Electronic Sound, Record Collector and across the internet. Permanently buried under mountains of recorded media, ears ringing from a lifetime of gigs, he enjoys nothing more than recreationally throttling a guitar and following a baptism of punk fire has played in bands for 45 years, releasing recordings via Esoteric Antenna and Cleopatra Records.