By Sarah Blythe
A bustling back street Bethnal Green pub was the setting for the debut album launch of Sweet Sweet Lies – a refreshingly innovative, image conscious band from Brighton.
Having listened to a few of their tracks before the launch, I knew they were something special. Their records are musically diverse and exciting, a rarity considering the current appetite for mass produced music.
It is approaching 9.30pm. There is a definite buzz about the place as eager ears arrive, and the warm up acts, of which there were two, kick start the evening. Disappointingly, warmed up we were not, as the crowd were left more than a little chilly by their sub-par performances. However all was not lost, as at last, Sweet Sweet Lies took to the stage; and somehow, as if influenced by some magical phenomenon to which I was oblivious, the audience more than doubled in size. “This must be a good sign”, I thought to myself, and yes, yes, it was.
Front man Dominic stepped onto the stage oozing a rare masculine elegance, and as he commenced proceedings it became obvious he has a voice to match the persona; a voice that is unrivalled by many efforts on the scene of late, with a naturally melodic quality to it. This front man has a powerful voice full of promise, and one that doesn’t shirk away from a challenging range of genuinely beautiful harmonies.
After just a few songs it becomes starkly apparent that as individuals they are all accomplished musicians in their own right, producing some exciting and varied material. Strong drums and shrill horns lift the tempo and inject a welcome jazz like quality.
It is too difficult to select one stand out song – there are many that make the grade. ‘No-one will love you (like I do’) is the lead single, integrating a contemporary waltz and a hint of folk to accompany lyrics that are untraditionally romantic. Another contender is ‘Overrated Girlfriend’- it is fresh, upbeat and light heartedly misogynistic; a definite crowd pleaser. ‘Capital of Iceland’ also feels rather special with its distinctive, gritty tone; a melodic and lyrical success.
Sweet Sweet Lies are clearly story tellers at heart, and revel in their theatrically inspired set. I would even identify them as a demure musical offspring of the Tiger Lillies, as their shared passions for Brechtian theatricality and quirky melodies are clearly visible.
I find it interesting that the band is promoted as being “driven by melody and narrative rather than radio playlists and passing fads”. It is their honest melody and narrative that will inevitably guide them to the radio playlists, but they need to find that fire in the belly, that obsession about getting picked up by national radio pretty sharpish as they are already a well-constructed package, ready for distribution. In fact, play their album, and you will be forgiven for thinking you are listening to any of the national radio stations out there. Sweet Sweet Lies have the potential to become front runners, and I for one hope they do. A passing fad, they certainly are not.
Sweet Sweet Lies debut album ‘The Hare, The Hound & The Tortoise’ is out now Click Here to buy it!