|The Trouble with Sweeney
“I Know You Destroy!” (btv055)
1. The Break Up
2. Surrey Is A Word I Hardly Ever Use
3. Arm In Arm
4. The Snitch
6. Why Can’t Anything Be Easy, Baby?
7. Fake Moustache
8. The Biggest Mary In The Entire School
9. At Noon
10. High Tide & Green Grass
11. The Counterfeiters
|In 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.