Sweetalk – Mutiny
This is a blueprint for how to make kick ass rock and roll with a challenging edge. Sweetalk’s five song EP Mutiny does not go in for the standard tropes and clichés but, instead, molds familiar themes and approaches to their own ends without losing any energy or rock and roll spirit. The lyrical content on these songs extends from their imaginative titles to highly personal, yet resonant, words perfectly tailored to each musical arrangement. They conjure up quite a sonic storm despite having one guitarist and a narrow range of instrumentation, but the production frames the songs in such a way they sound well nigh undeniable. Their style is best described as a high flown alternative style with a penchant for great riffs and, when they take instrumental breaks, they never over indulgent and, instead, fill the tracks with further color. Mutiny is one of the best indie rock efforts of the young year.
“Ghosts and Flesh Wounds” pummels listeners with Brian Boelter’s drums before Jamie Koebe’s guitar and Travis Grahn’s bass join in earnest. Koebe’s voice is ideally suited for this front loaded musical attack and the band comes with such a combination of technique and raw muscle that it’s difficult to not feel a little overwhelmed. The crucial factor influencing this is the song’s clear as a bell production that gives Sweetalk impressive power and a deceptively finessed touch. They mix things up to excellent effect with a rugged guitar work out on “Anatomically Speaking” and the edgy six string work takes on a number of permutations during the performance. Koebe delivers an appropriately cutting vocal that sinks the song deeper into listener’s consciousness. The band’s songwriting quality remains consistently high throughout the duration of this release and there’s nothing even remotely related to filler weighing down the track listing.
The riff propelling much of “Annie Maul” has the impact of a clinched fist colliding with your jaw over and over again. It has great swing and the band’s ability to move back and forth between riding that motif and alternating it with much more nuanced passages. The lyrics are some of the most imaginative on the release and match up quite nicely with the music. “Indecisions & Distractions” is the album’s longest musical exploration and runs close to six and a half minutes. Koebe’s anguished vocal drives much of the song’s power, but the band brings down a musical storm as well. The extended length gives the band a chance to stretch out and they never disappoint. Mutiny ends with “Fractions & Nosebleeds”, a much more meditative musical experience in some important ways and a performance that underlines their ability to shift gears. Sweetalk has a great skill for pouring old wine into new bottles and the distinct flavor of these songs goes down well with a lingering, pleasant sting. Green Bay’s newest rock and roll musical export is just starting out on a recording career, but there’s no question their trajectory has a distinctly upward path from here.
9 out of 10 stars