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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
Under the Covers, Volume 1
Shout! Factory

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

May 11, 2006
The word "novelty" often has a foul connotation in the world of rock music, let alone in reference to the pop Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs usually serve up, but while Under the Covers, Volume 1 is a novel idea, it is also the perfect place for the duo to share their true, unwavering love of classic tunes. Like watching an old pro overjoyed by the love of the game, Under the Covers oozes with real warmth, spirit and love, the likes of which you can't fabricate.

The good taste in song choices will certainly follow with a good aftertaste: The Marmalade, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Fairport Convention, Neil Young, Love, The Beach Boys, The Stone Poneys, The Who, The Velvet Underground, The Zombies, The Mamas and the Papas, Left Banke andů The Bee Gees?... each expertly chosen by bona fide music nerds, Sweet and Hoffs. And if the pairing of their voices - at once earnest and breathy - doesn't invigorate you enough, note that none other than Van Dyke Parts appears on the album as well to add to the pedigree.

No one is changing the world here. This is not an album made for innovation or conscious strides; it is simply and sweetly a work of love - for the music, for its creators and for its fans. Favorite tracks will vary on your own biases before diving in, though "And Your Bird Can Sing", "Cinnamon Girl", "The Warmth of the Sun" and "The Kids Are Alright" cannot be missed. Unforeseen rewards sneak in as well: Richard Lloyd's guitars are given free reign on some all-time riffs, bringing an unexpected urgency to the album, and Hoffs' coo grows tartly sassy in surprising moments of coquettish fun. Yes, even "Run To Me" drips with doe-eyed, teenage sentimentality that softens the heart just enough to get past its somewhat cringe-worthy origins. The tracks of Under the Covers are destined to wind up on mix tapes, created out of the same love Sweet and Hoffs share and symbolize. Everything here is to be enjoyed.

Sometimes an idea comes along that is too good to be denied. Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, performing as "Sid 'n' Susie" on a lovingly crafted pop primer? Definitely one of those ideas. This is an album worthy of unpretentious adoration.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters



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