Matthew Sweet In Reverse

With double tracked vocals, big horns, layered keyboards and some of the catchiest melodies, Matthew Sweet lives up to his name on this latest album, a welcome return to form after 1997’s disappointing Blue Sky On Mars. “I’ve got a split personality,” Sweet sings at one point, and that’s certainly been evident throughout his career — not just in the sometimes sporadic quality of his output, but in his romantic perspective, as he wavers between hope and despair, bitter loneliness and blissful contentment — basically, between 1991’s Girlfriend and 1993’s Altered Beast. In Reverse contains elements of both, but it seems the uncaring, don’t-let-the-door-hit-your-ass Sweet is dominating here. It’s nice to see, since some of his choicest lyrical gems spring from those sentiments; they’re balanced out by the pathetic “take me back” songs that wallow in their own crapulence, with some lovely musical accompaniment. Heartbreak never sounded so good. (Zomba)