13 June 2008

Surrey Is a Word I Hardly Ever Use

The Trouble With Sweeney, "(I Know You Destroy)"
Burnt Toast Vinyl, 2003

This gem was leftover from last Sunday's house cleaning. It's one of the better literary-pop bands you've never heard of. At first listen "(I Know You Destroy)" offered me little in the way of enjoyment. The songs seemed too plodding to be considered pop and the poppier ones seemed too dense to be appreciated. But, ever the faithful listener, I kept spinning it. And eventually I decided I still didn't like it. So I shelved it.

But have you ever been drawn to an album simply because of the way it looks on your shelf? Or its album title? Yeah, me neither.

The Trouble With Sweeney will, however, grow on your skin like so many barnacles. Their lyrics are a plaintive mixture of novelty and sincerity and their melodies are whispers on a Philadelphia street (the band's hometown); akin to a Virginia Woolf novel with more structure and narrative. I believe I read that their lyricist completed his PhD in History after completing this album and was a music journalist for a while. If that's true, it shows in the subtlety of the song structures and in lyrics like ("If you're worried that I'll snitch/you really shouldn't bother/you can rest assured/I'm telling everyone I know).

After a quick check of their website, it looks like the band is on semi-permanent hiatus. In the meantime, check out two of their best tracks for download, both from "(I Know You Destroy)."

mp3: The Trouble With Sweeney: "The Break Up"
mp3: The Trouble With Sweeney: "The Snitch"

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