Modern Art

[Missing Piece]

After a nearly 30-year career and the critical acclaim reaped by much-loved albums like Girlfriend, Altered Beast and 100% Fun, Matthew Sweet has earned his place among power-pop’s elite. His up-and-down fortunes have been dictated all too often by never-ending shifts in record-label affiliations, but each new album still brings an endlessly renewed sense of possibility. True to Sweet’s retro sensibilities, Modern Art is distinguished by a psychedelic strain that courses throughout the proceedings. Byrds-like harmonies are plentiful as well, with the hushed vocals of “Oh, Oldendaze!”, “She Walks the Night” and “Baltimore” recalling the iconic Fifth Dimension and The Notorious Byrds Brothers albums in particular. Other offerings—most notably “Ivory Tower” (with its angry entreaty “Come down from your ivory tower”), the blistering “Ladyfingers” and the shape-shifting “Late Nights With the Power Pop” (“… drowning pain that will never stop”)–reflect an edgier side as well. Three decades on, Modern Art finds Sweet still creating new colors for his palette. –Lee Zimmerman

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