Matthew Sweet & Suzanna Hoffs Under the Covers Vol. 1

The short musical interludes in the original Austin Powers movie featured both Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs as part of a mythical band called Ming Tea. Somehow from this cute joke, an album was born almost a decade later as Sweet and Hoffs have reunited to record a loving tribute to the music of the 1960s. Under the Covers is pretty much what you expect it to be. Sweet and Hoffs run through a whole bunch of their favourite songs from the ’60s without messing with them. It is a heartfelt tribute to their influences that doesn’t offer anything in the way of surprises, yet it is a very enjoyable album. You don’t have to be a genius to work out which ’60s bands and musicians have influenced the work of Matthew Sweet. Like his kindred spirits in Velvet Crush and Teenage Fanclub, he’s never been one for not wearing his heart on his sleeve. So small wonder the Byrds, the Beatles, the Left Banke and Love are represented here. Slightly more surprising are two Neil Young covers ("Cinnamon Girl” and "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”), but there’s nothing too shocking. Sweet and Hoffs have put together a fun record of the kind that they simply don’t seem to make any more. In someone else’s hands, this could have been a disaster, but it works so well that a second volume is inevitable and I don’t imagine there will be too many people complaining when it appears either. (Shout! Factory)