Action: The Sweet Anthology (Shout Factory)
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., April 24, 2009
SweetAction: The Sweet Anthology (Shout! Factory)
Minted in 1971 as bubblegum soldiers, Sweet became glam rock's most engaging singles act. The Mike Chapman/Nicky Chinn-produced UK quartet thrived by supercharging AM radio hooks with hard rock riffs, and the early singles on this 2-CD set only hint at what's to come. In four years, Sweet went from ripping off the Archies on "Funny Funny" to sending up bisexuality on "A.C.D.C." A killer bubble-glam cocktail emerges on tunes such as "Blockbuster" and "Hell Raiser," while drummer Mick Tucker's nod to Sandy Nelson and bassist/vocalist Steve Priest's Hanna-Barbera falsetto gave 1973's "Ballroom Blitz" equal amounts of pelvic power and unencumbered goofiness. "Blitz" led the U.S. version of 1975's Desolation Boulevard, which also boasted "Fox on the Run," the band's first non-Chapman/Chinn hit. The group's quest for FM respectability became an albatross, the art-rock midsection on the LP version of 1977's "Love Is Like Oxygen" wisely excised for the single. Lead vocalist Brian Connolly's ultimately fatal alcoholism led to his 1978 ouster. Sweet soldiered on until 1982, but tracks like "Big Apple Waltz" are listless harbingers of the end.