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Album Review

Combining an indie pop aesthetic with a country-rock engine, the Trouble With Sweeney are a vehicle for decidedly literary homespun reflections. While their sound has drawn comparisons to '60s folk rockers the Lovin' Spoonful and the Turtles, lead vocalist Joey Sweeney's scratchy croon delivers melodies with phrasing similar to Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, just as lead guitarist John Howkins maneuvers through some decidedly twangy guitar leads to give their sound a more modern alternative country currency. While their subject matter rarely wanders too far from small-town romance and disillusioned reflections, jaunty tunes like "$500-A-Day Hall of Mirrors," highlighted by banjo and flute, create more ebullient sounds. Still, many moods are rife with alienation and regret, from the bouncy rockabilly of "Kitty" to the Replacements mixed with Neil Young of "Is That Your Car?" Endearing from the first listen, endlessly charming, and a positively good journey, the Trouble With Sweeney ultimately make their home at a familiar crossroads, yet still manage to stake out a little new territory for themselves.


Formed: 1999 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Trouble With Sweeney is the brainchild of songwriter Joey Sweeney. He founded the indie pop outfit in 1999 after leaving the Barnabys. Alongside musicians John Howkins, Erik Schmidt, Joey Mangan, and Erica J. Pennella, Sweeney derived a rootsy pop sound; a self-titled EP was issued within several months. Burnt Toast released the Trouble With Sweeney's proper studio full-length, Dear Life,...
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Dear Life, The Trouble With Sweeney
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