To say I have been looking forward to this album would be a massive understatement, their early singles over the past two years should have been blasting on every rock radio station in the world, and these guys should already be huge from the likes of ‘Love to Leave’ and ‘Slather.’ To be clear, my anticipation for the album would have made it easy to be disappointed in it, but my faith has been rewarded with an album that could very easily be my album of the year and is sure to be one that will remain in constant rotation for years to come. The Sweet Things have distilled the essence of rock n roll’s primal ingredients and then added their own secret spices to make it all their own. Comparison points definitely include the Rolling Stones and Guns N’ Roses, but those are not the only ones, for example, as I would say the spirit of Chuck Berry is essential to the band as well.
Lead video ‘Liquor Lightning’ kicks off the album in fine style as we hear the sound of bottles clinking together before a riff that encompasses the shambolic spirit of something like the Black Crowes ‘Thick n Thin’ gives way to Dave Tierney frantically spilling the words from the first verse over the riff in a race to the finish line. Everything then falls perfectly in time as the band is in fine form with the addition of some excellent piano work included behind them to give the song even more flavor. The reprieve in the pre-chorus provides even more urgency to the chorus as the horns explode in the background. The guitar solo is razor sharp and captures the Chuck Berry spirit before the band slam the chorus at us again. If someone asks for a song in the spirit of rock n roll, this can be it. Follow up ‘Dead or Worse’ slows the beat a bit and features some excellent harmonica work. Sam Hariss (also bass) provides the first verse on this one with his rasp being a perfect fit, similar to Izzy’s vocals in GN’R. The production gives the music plenty of space with Tierney taking over for the second verse before they combine vocals at the end. I hate to think how many times I have heard the live version of this on YouTube. The excitement and the vibe have translated over to the vinyl in remarkable fashion.
The title track takes us on a mid tempo journey with a timeless classic rock epic that immediately grabbed me with the band again receiving support from piano, horns, and some harmonica. Simply put, I do not understand how fans of early Black Crowes, Dogs D’amour, Quireboys, Faces, Rolling Stones could not be drawn in with this song. I have this urge to lift a glass in the air and singalong with this one every time it plays. Another of the early release songs follows with ‘Almost Faded’ being another perfect rock n roll song with some horn work that would do 80’s era Hanoi Rocks proud. It is not a stretch to think Tierney (also guitar), Hariss, Lorne Behrman (guitar/ vocals), and Darren Fried (drums) had a cryptic meeting with someone down at the crossroads to come up with this album. The time that has gone into creating these songs and this album has paid dividends. If you are not singing along with ‘Almost Faded,’ I really do not know what to tell you other than your rock n roll spirit is apparently dead. Hyperbole? Give it a listen and find out for yourself. Wrapping up the first half of the album is ‘Dr. Crazy Girl’ whose guitar riff slowly builds before the song starts moving and conjuring the spirit of the New York Dolls. While perhaps not as monumental as the first four songs, this one keeps the momentum going nicely.
Flipping the record over introduces the classic rock infused ‘Drained.’ Again the band has really thrown in all the bells and whistles…. Okay, maybe it is all the horns and piano to create something really special that will still kick butt in the live setting without them. The chorus begs for a singalong from all of us listening. ‘Coke’n’ has been one they have played live which was originally done by Izzy Stradlin back on his 2002 ‘On Down the Road’ album and fits the Sweet Things like it was written with them in mind. The groove is timeless and shows in terms of the songwriting the heart and soul that Izzy provided GN’R. This is another one just made for blasting out the windows wherever you are as everyone around you should be listening to it too. ‘Through the Cracks of the City’ is another I am familiar with as the band originally released it a couple years ago and have played it live. The hook simply sticks to you and does not shake loose, and the guitar riffs throughout the song are awesome.
‘Fix to Kick’ brings us to the final stretch of the album with the band making another timeless riff look effortless. The Sweet Things simply rawk in all the right ways with this being another classic chorus that they smartly do not use to overwhelm the music. It falls right in line with the music in the mix, giving it a great live feel. This has future single written all over it. Finale ‘Feed My Dog’ slows things down a touch with another slow burner that does not waste one second of its five minutes. The guitar licks are perfectly done and the extended musical section in the song gives me chills before the vocals come back to wrap up the album.
I wrote in another piece here on the site how several huge albums have come out in May between the Wildhearts, the Darts, Glam Skanks, and the Sweet Things. I only have the Glam Skanks yet to hear, but every album in that group has simply killed. This stands tall as an Album of the Year contender and beyond that really as the album is simply a timeless piece of art and a testament to the band. World dominance should be next for them as long as you give this a listen, buy it, and then let your friends, acquaintances, and even your enemies know about it as everyone needs this rock n roll in their lives.
Buy ‘In Borrowed Shoes On Borrowed Time’ Here
Author: Gerald Stansbury