the real McCoy: pop grunge

Sweet Water (Atlantic)
Sweet Water

By Kory Wilcoxson

Coming out of Seattle, Sweet Water already has one big strike against them. Comparisons to other flannel Athens luminaries are inevitable, and Sweet Water faces the daunting task of making themselves heard.

And judging by this album, they deserve the chance. They attack their music with rugged determination, churning out the music instead of just playing the instruments.

The Seattle sound is definitely present here, but there is enough originality and earnestness to separate Sweet Water from their Northwest brethren. Lead guitarist Dudley Taft's feet aren't completely mired in the muddled guitar quicksand, giving the music a sharp, distinct edge not found in other grungy styles.

Sweet Water also tosses in something else not normally reserved for this type of sound catchy, hook-filled lyrics. Instead of letting the guitar do all the talking, vocalist Adam Czeisler throws in some sing-along lyrics on "Like A Child" and "Sleep."

Give Sweet Water credit: they not only work hard to establish their own identity but they do it with gimmickless, strong music.

On "Stripped Down," Czeisler yearns, "I put my hands together time and time again for my friends, when will it be my turn?" Patience, my friend. If the world is fair your time will come.