Guess Matthew Sweet didn’t get the memo that as your career goes on, you’re supposed to mellow out. Because Catspaw, his 15th solo record roars out of the gate with “Blown Away” that finds Sweet serving up a dose of his exquisite pop songcraft with face-shearing dollops of Neil Young-Crazy Horse guitar lines interwoven. Welcome back, Matthew!
For his first record since Wicked System of Things from 2018 finds the power pop veteran doing it all – the songwriting, playing and producing with help from the legendary Ric Menck (Velvet Crush) on drums, and it’s phenomenal achievement. “Give A Little” reminds fans of moments from Girlfriend and Altered Beast from the ’90s – big guitars, arena-sized hooks and some nasty lead work. But not all is sunshine and light, for example “Come Home” – “I won’t forget that my heart is already torn” – or the sludgy, grungy “Best of Me” with “What if the best of me isn’t good enough”. Catspaw serves up repeated moments of self-doubt and reflection, and that’s a good thing. Because everyone has them, even genius guitarists.
The record ends with “Parade of Lights” where it all comes together- epic guitar figures with a psych/pop aura that shows that the 56 year old pop maestro has no intentions of slowing down or easing up. Rave on, Matthew Sweet.