I can’t imagine what kind of musical wasteland Tacoma, Washington might have been in the early ‘80s, but there are little kernels of cultural influence that I’m picking up here, on Sweet Madness’s second collection of material: David Byrne/Talking Heads. Small town power pop. Wiry synth lines butting up against fever-bright guitars. A few melodies that strongly remind me of, if you can believe it or not, a precursor to Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance.” It’s fascinating stuff, if at times somewhat aged. There’s a few missteps—”Flight Number 77,” with its veering, overwrought piano balladry, seems very much a melodramatic product of its time. But then “I’m Not Vicious” is a great, simmering piece of power pop ala Cheap Trick. Seriously might be the heaviest gatefold/vinyl combo I’ve ever seen; they did not skimp on the packaging here. Probably mostly for fans of the era and/or locale, but a cool listen regardless.
–keith (Light In The Attic)