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The Sweet Things - Brown Leather (Wendigo Productions NYC/Spaghetty Town)

5 July 2022

For its second LP Brown Leather, New York City’s rollicking Sweet Things have undergone some alterations. With original guitarist Lorne Behrman off to a solo career (replaced by slide master Tobin Dale), personnel changes inevitably mean musical ones; thus, after the glam-inflected bar band desperation of 2019’s In Borrowed Shoes, On Borrowed Time, the quartet have shifted perspective from the 1970s Northeast to the 1970s South. Recording the meat of the record at the legendary FAME Studios in Alabama and incorporating country, blues and Southern rock into their two guitar/bass/drums iconography, the Things feel right at home with the wry C&W of “Familiar Face,” the soulful balladry of “Ain’t Got Enough Room (In My Heart),” the horns-enhanced choogle of “Cold Feet” and the sweet Dobro folk of “Ride the River.” That said, the band hasn’t abandoned their, well, abandon, and the only real difference between firebreathers like “Ride It Home,” “Mentholated Blues” and the title track and what’s gone before is piano and an emphasis on the Stonesy side of their personality, which always fought for prominence anyway. At first, this record might seem like a radical deviation, but in truth the band dropped hints of this style on its debut. Ultimately, Brown Leather is both a progression and a keeping of the faith.