Matthew Sweet - Tomorrow Forever - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Matthew Sweet - Tomorrow Forever

by D R Pautsch Rating:8 Release Date:2017-06-23

Matthew Sweet has faced the need for reinvention before.  Two albums into his career with good reviews but disappointing sales he was dropped by his record label and recovering from divorce.  He then decided to change direction, bring in a band of stellar performers like Lloyd Cole, Robert Quine and Richard Lloy and channel the negativity. The result was Girlfriend, the ultimate power pop break-up album.  This started a run of five albums where Sweet could do little wrong.  The dark and malevolent Altered Beast gave way to the brash and tuneful 100% FunBlue Sky on Mars followed, complete with synths and that lead to the millennium weary In Reverse.  However, the new millennium saw Sweet stumble and subsequent offerings have failed to live up to those efforts.  Seemingly adrift of a record label Sweet turned to Kickstarter in 2014 and raised enough in one month to launch his new, at the time untitled, album in Spring 2015, with the promise ‘I hereby pledge to do everything mentioned above, as scheduled, come hell or high water. Trust in me, I won't let you down!’  Two years late, following the unexpected death of his mother and return to his Nebraska hometown Tomorrow Forever finally arrives with seventeen songs (twelve more if you signed up to the extra’s disk) that almost sounds like a Matthew Sweet greatest hits collection with new songs.  It's familiar, new and a return to form that from the opening Trick to the closing End is Near plays to Sweet’s strengths whilst sounding fresh.

Sweet has tried to evolve his musical style on each album, here he sounds like he is happy to just play what he enjoys.  So when we hear him enter the chorus of Trick it’s like putting on an old pair of very comfortable shoes, but in a good way as the melodies and sentiment just ooze with the signature harmonies and guitar that Sweet has become known for.  It’s not the massive lead single he tends to have on each album, Girlfriend or Sick of Myself for instance.  However, it grows into something very memorable and welcome indeed. The feeling of familiarity is something that continues throughout the album.  The opening notes of Country Girl sound eerily like the middle section of Thunderstorm, the mash up of three songs that signalled the end of In Reverse.  This then turns into an almost country number which switches up pace.  Music for Love is straight out of the Blue Sky on Mars mould with an easy lead guitar and repeating riff that just keeps bringing you back in.  Finally could be an off-cut of 100% fun with its throwaway nature and chunking guitar.

Where this album really comes into its own is where the music moves on slightly.  Circle with its stop and start guitars and sixties style vocals this is a groovy number that Ming Tea, Sweet’s side project that appears in the Austin Powers films, would be proud of.  Off The Farm is a Neil Young styled number filled with profanity, fun, keening guitars and sounds like he is going back to his Girlfriend days.  Come Correct might just be the most laid back, easy sounding number on the whole album but it might just be the best thing here with a chorus that hangs around long after it finishes.  Lyrically it covers the same ground as Write Your Own Song, from In Reverse but this is a much more positive mode and that positivity pervades the whole album.

For an album that doesn’t cover new ground and doesn’t have a stand out single this is a real step forward.  It's got all the old ingredients that once made Sweet so popular and yet it's as fresh as a daisy and perfect for gorgeous summers days.  Power pop is alive and well and man it's Sweet.

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