a world filled with critics who want to be rock stars and rock stars
who want to be critics, Philadelphia's The Trouble With Sweeney
defy it all by being exactly what they are — secretly, and
against all odds, one of the best bands in America.
What’s new this time around are the ambitious arrangements
and stellar playing found all over I Know You Destroy! — thanks
as much to producer Brian McTear (Burning Brides, Mazarin, Bigger
Lovers, Matt Pond PA) as well as the life breathed in by the new
rhythm section of Mike Conklin on bass and Richard Stuverud (Pete
Yorn, Threefish, Nash Kato) on drums. Meanwhile, the core duo of
brothers-in-law Heyward Howkins and Joey Sweeney pony up what are
perhaps the ten strongest songs they’ve ever written —
to say nothing of an extra Byrdsy pop gem contributed by Richard.
If we may be so bold, the songs here run the gamut of American music,
from timpani-infused confessional rockers to geekazoid new wave
to rockabilly (by way of Morrissey) shuffle to...some of it sounds
like it’s in a damn musical!
None of that should be too surprising to those who’ve followed
the broad literary/rock shuffle of the band’s leader, who
is as beloved (and be-hated, if indeed that is a word) as a pop
culture and music critic as he is as what Popmatters.com just called
“one of the great pop troubadours of this fresh new century.”
Putting aside his pedigree as the leader of the Barnabys as well
as a solo artist previous to all of this, this past year has been
a huge one for the kid: In addition to penning the bulk of I Know
You Destroy!, he got married, made a well-received EP (Play Karen
And Others) with TTWS, toured the country, nabbed top honors in
the AAN Award For Music Criticism, showed up in Da Capo’s
Best Music Writing 2002, penned some real knee-slappers for Salon.com
and then got started on two different books.
Thing is, you’ll find reference to none of this on I Know
You Destroy! — and if you do, it is mired in a such a deep
code that, hey, you know what? Be our guest. Go ahead and find it.