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Sweet: Level Headed

Album Notes

Sweet: Brian Connolly (vocals); Andy Scott (guitar, keyboards); Steve Priest (bass, background vocals); Mick Tucker (drums).

Recorded at Chateau D'Herouville, France and Kingsway Recorders, London, England. Originally released on Capitol.

All tracks have been digitally remastered.

Sweet struggled to earn credibility as album artists and/or score hits after finally wresting themselves free of songwriting/production team Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman in the summer of 1974. They turned out a few albums before achieving both goals with Level Headed. The album gave them their final Top Ten hit with the dreamy "Love Is Like Oxygen," a single that suggested that its accompanying record was a trippy mainstream pop record. Instead, it was one part of an ambitious sonic mosaic where Sweet tried a little bit of everything, cloaking it all in a neo-prog aesthetic. If it was hard to hear the candy crunch of early Sweet on "Love Is Like Oxygen," it seems like "Little Willy" in comparison to the rest of Level Headed, where the group runs wild in the studio. Throughout the first half, they indulge in catchy pop, dressing it up with mild psychedelia, elongating melodies with breezy harmonies and studio swirl. This is just a teaser for the second side, where they delve deep into album rock weirdness, trying on classical-inspired art rock with "Anthem No. 1" and "Anthem No. 2," waltzing along with the Europop "Lettres d'Amour," and livening the proceedings with "Strong Love," a horn-spiked disco tune. Certainly, this is not classic-era Sweet, but that's precisely what's good about Level Headed -- they're off-kilter and adventurous, occasionally stumbling but always making interesting music on an album that's anything but what the title promises. If Level Headed didn't spawn another hit, so be it -- it remains one of Sweet's most fascinating albums, compared to both what came before and after. Yes, it was "Ballroom Blitz," "Fox on the Run," and other early hits that influenced the pop-metal of the late '70s and '80s, but for hardcore Sweet fans, Level Headed is a gem to treasure. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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