Sweet Water
"Clear the Tarmac"

(Golden City Records 2009)Sweet Water - Clear the Tarmac

So I sit down, kick back, and pop in a CD. I know, it seems so 1999, right? But then again, the very moment that “Clear the Tarmac,” the latest long player from Seattle pre-punk outfit Sweet Water hits your ear canals…you realize it: what is once old is new again. The driving drum beat of “Grass is Green” invokes an instant head nod; the kind of head nod that doesn’t stop until, well, the Tarmac is officially cleared.

Standout single “Rock Steady” rolls through with that power-pop tendency that seems to dominate the album. Lead vocalist Adam Czeisler craftily croons “rock steady, this is the place you belong, rock steady, don’t stay away for too long” over a dominant bass line and a whole bunch of oohs and aahs that make it hard not to sing along. For a more laid back groove, crank up “Dogs at Bay,” where electric keys meet a foot-tapping bass drum that just makes you want to call in for a long weekend. Set aside “Miss You,” complete with a verse heavy on the ride cymbal for a good time too; you shall not be disappointed.

Parts of “Tarmac” do fail to clear the pop hurdle, but they exist only as mere speed bumps in the overall progress of the album. For that one may take heed, but otherwise, cruise on through this thing, because that is obviously the reason it exists.

The beauty of “Clear the Tarmac” lies not in the fact that Sweet Water has come back to life, but that they still manage to crank out such a well-rounded disc. Pardon the unavoidable pun, but, sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

B+

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