Prior to 2017’s Tomorrow Forever, the last Matthew Sweet album of original material was 2011’s Modern Art. In between was the third volume of Under The Covers, the charming series recorded by Sweet and ex-Bangle Susanna Hoffs.
Matthew Sweet’s personal circumstances had changed considerably in the intervening years: he re-located away from Los Angeles to Nebraska (where he was born) and was confronted by one of life’s inevitable transitions, the death of a parent.
One thing that did not change was Sweet’s ability to pen a terrific power pop song. Tomorrow Forever had no less than seventeen of them, covering the range you’d expect from this seasoned craftsman. That’s a generous serve of songs, but it was a long way from exhausting the stock in Sweet’s musical larder. Tomorrow’s Daughter was released in 2018 to accommodate a further 12 songs that didn’t make it onto the preceding disc. To emphasise the ‘companion’ nature of the album, the cover art is again by Jean Maio, another of her ‘big eye’ harlequin works from the sixties. (Is this retro ‘lounge room’ art an acquired taste? Have to say, I’m not in love).
This is solid, dependable, Matthew Sweet. Sometimes (eg: “Off the farm”) I’m reminded of nothing as much as a melodic Neil Young fronting an upbeat Crazy Horse. Good tunes, strong choruses, fabulous harmonies; Sweet delivers his songs with conviction and class. There are no surprises, and few (if any) low spots. If there are few jaw-dropping moments of excitement either, then that is perhaps more to do with the strength of his 90s albums (Girlfriend and Altered Beast, in particular) than any lack here. Except, perhaps, in one area. Although Sweet is an excellent electric guitarist, as is current six-string ally John Moremen, his past deployment of buzz saw musicians Robert Quine and Richard Lloyd added a cutting edge and flying sparks, something not so obvious here. None-the-less, fans will enjoy both Tomorrow albums, while newcomers might well be inspired to check out Matthew Sweet’s rich back catalogue.
From Tomorrow Forever (2017) check out “Pretty please”, “Music for love”, “Carol”.
From Tomorrow’s Daughter (2018) try “Girl with cat”, “Ever after” (to sample the country influence)