SWEET AT THEIR PEAK AND THE END OF AN ERA!!!
Derek J. Liddard | South Wales, United Kingdom | 02/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With Sweet now touring constantly abroad (they hadn`t played in Britain for 3 years by this point) ardent fans were eagerly awaiting this album which turned out to be the last HEAVY offering from the band. They were not to be disappointed!No expense was spared, beginning most notably with the elaborate gatefold sleeve which adorned the original vinyl release. The album was written and conceived almost entirely in the studio, which bassist Steve Priest likened to having a taxi meter running. (CHECK OUT HIS BOOK "ARE YOU READY STEVE?") Apparently most of the band were fueled up on coke during the proceedings. As with the preceeding album "Give Us A Wink" Sweet were handling the production. The idea was to come up with a commercial rock `n` roll album but having said that, the two singles lifted from it that open the record both failed to chart."Fever Of Love", the first track has a real warmth to it, especially Connolly`s vocals, and a beautiful, soaring guitar break towards the end."Lost Angels", the next track has an "everything but the kitchen sink" production ... harmony guitar fills, Bad Company style riffing, Queen like shriek multi layered vocals."Midnight To Daylight" is pure, Sweet indulgence, in three and a half minutes. Begins like quite a commericial pop rock number before escalating into a guitar versus harmonica duel with a "trick the D.J." ending.The album`s killer cut is without a doubt "Windy City", a lengthy lament punctuated by a riff not too disimilar to Deep Purple`s "Woman From Tokyo", a Led Zeppelin "No Quarter" type break which leads into a frenzied bass, drums, guitar work out. This remained a stage favourite for years and usually came as the encore to the band`s show."Live For Today", which was the album`s working title up until the conception of the actual album cover reflects to a certain extent the influence punk was beginning to have even on the "old farts", and probably the influence drink was beginning to have on Connolly`s state of mind. Definitely an "I want out" song!"She Gimme Lovin`" is delivered at breakneck speed with swirling drums and a touch of the Robert Plant`s while "Hard Times" has a loose, jam type feel to it.It is preceeded by a beautiful acoustic track called "Laura Lee" and my only regret about this remastered CD is that the opportunity wasn`t taken to reunite the song with "Show Me The Way",a hard edged electric/acoustic, slashing piece of action initially scheduled to follow on without a break. (It ended up on it`s own as the B side to "California Nights".)"Off The Record" officially ended with what one reviewer described as a pointless "Fame" reworking, "Funk It Up". Sure it`s funky, but it`s a worthwhile track reflecting the "funky" leanings of many of the so called "heavier" bands circa 1977. The bonus cuts are two B sides, "A Distinct Lack Of Ancient" and "Why Don`t You Do It To Me", the most noteworthy being the former, an unusually haunting instrumental. Essentially, I would define this recording as Sweet at their peak and the end of an era. Subsequent albums saw a definite change, once again, in direction, coupled with first a lessening of Brian Connolly`s input and finally his departure. Highly recommended listening particularly if you enjoy bands like Deep Purple, Queen, Led Zeppelin ... more so than glam rock as you would expect."
Hard Rockin' and polished.
Raymond Talbot | LaBaie, Quebec Canada | 04/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The SWEET have made it! After two hit albums in North America, the bank account is doing just fine. They write their own songs now, handle the production and control the final product. But, with more money comes something that can wound a band that plays songs which are on the edge and "fresh". TOO MUCH STUDIO TIME! In the past, SWEET had very little time to put albums together, so songs were delivered "raw" with minimal post production polishing, giving them that intangible quality once known in the sixties as "a happening" (Ask your mom if you don't know what I'm talking about). Although this album is a hard rockin' roller coaster ride, SWEET have lost something here. BUT WAIT!!! ALL IS NOT LOST! In the bonus material, the final four songs offer us "jaw dropping" performances by the band. Someone, somewhere, stood up and said: "OK boys, one more time, WITH FEELING!!! Thus creating "a happening" and making this CD worth every penny. Play it loud, feel it...
Very favourite tracks: "Live For Today" and "Lost Angels" demo version.
Excellent edition,with one minor flaw
Philip A.Cohen | Bay Harbor Islands, Florida United States | 02/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This disc features the UK edition of "Off The Record",which lacks "Stairway to The Stars",but not to worry,since it's included amongst the bonus tracks.As for the other bonus tracks,you get the non-L.P. b-sides "A Distinct Lack of Ancient" & "Why Don't You Do It to Me",the alternate "Midnight to Daylight"(which debuted on the German 2-CD set "Sweet Originals"),a Disco mix of "Funk it Up"(A Capitol U.S.A. creation made via tape copy repeats of certain sections.Yawn!),a fine previously unreleased demo of "Lost Angels",and alternate mixes of "She Gimme Lovin'" and "Hard Times" which have been heard on numerous previous outtakes CD's.My only complaint:the tape copy used for "Stairway to the Stars" has audible damage during the first second.Obviously,it passes quickly,but it wasn't present on any previous release of the song.Oh well,it's a mid-price CD...."