NEW YORK CONNECTION
Self Released, March 2012
By Shane Pinnegar
Andy Scott’s SWEET have weighed in with as good a covers album as anyone could have hoped from a band that many thought would never release another album.
It’s normal for the time between albums to extend as a band grows older and creative juices fight for time with other life interests, and there’s only been one album of new material in the past 24 years (SweetLife in ’02).
Thankfully, Andy has roused the lads and put together a new album to satiate the faithful – New York Connection is a collection of songs strung together by the common theme of New York, and despite the tenuous connections of a few of the songs, the musical results are very pleasing indeed.
Opening with New York Groove – following the original Russ Ballard arrangement rather than Ace Frehley’s more famous (to me, at least!) cover – it’s clear Andy and the band (Pete Lincoln on bass & vocals, Bruce Bisland on drums and newly reinstated keyboardist Tony O’Hora) have a few tricks up their sleeves and have successfully given the song “the Sweet treatment”. Especially effective are Tony O’Hora’s backing vocals, and the segue into a segment of Jay Z & Alicia Keys’ Empire State Of Mind, again sung by O’Hora, in the choruses works sensationally.
The track listing is diverse – in the opening clutch, The Black Keys’ Gold On The Ceiling adapts well to The classic Sweet sound, pulsating and throbbing with intensity; All Moving Faster from obscure New York punkers Electric Frankenstein is a great song and again, sounds great in the Sweet style; and the rocking title track comes from an old Seventies Sweet b-side.
Yardbirds oldie Shapes Of Things and Springsteen/Smith number Because The Night are both workmanlike but fail to break away from the originals enough to stand out and shine.
Pete Burns’ dance megahit (as Dead Or Alive) is a pet hate of mine but to their credit, Sweet make it a fair fist of it and almost make it their own; and drummer Bisland has a bunch of pounding fun on The Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop, also featuring a wah wah heavy solo from Scott, and a fun snippet of his own Ballroom Blitz.
On Broadway, originally written by Mann/Well and Leiber/Stoller for The Drifters, works well melded with Green Day’s Broadway, and album closer is last year’s single – a vivacious version of The Who’s Join Together.
It’s great to have new material from Andy & Sweet, even if it is cover versions, but there’s no denying they are all expertly performed and recorded, and there is some great production and creative touches in combining some of these seemingly disparate tunes together to create an almost mashed up track, and a very enjoyable creative whole.