The Sweep’s third album is its greatest triumph so far, as all the pieces — the songwriting, performances and production — come together perfectly to create an alluring, moody, melodic piece of work that’ll likely find its way into your CD/MP3/record player and not leave it for quite a while. There’s a consistently melancholy ambiance that threads the tracks together, but the atmospherics shift throughout, from the gorgeous, aching sway of “Marry the Gold” (which would have been the best track on Elliott Smith’s unfinished posthumous album) to the buzzing majesty of “Lemon Lifeblood,” a more straightforward, driving Indie Rock track that is highlighted by some crafty guitar sparks (courtesy of newest member Billy Alletzhauser of The Hiders/Ass Ponys fame) and tastefully layered vocals (largely from frontman Nic Powers) and harmonies, which drive home the songs’ expansive but humble hooks with sweeping grace and undeniable heart and soul.
The 10 tracks on ||| are all so strong, it’s hard to pick out just a few highlights.
Not that singular tracks don’t stand on their own, but it’s an album that rewards several start-to-finish listens with sonic surprises and supple catchiness awaiting the listener around every twist and bend. The Sweep’s third full-length stands up well against other likeminded national releases this year and is easily one of the best Cincinnati-spawned albums of 2011. (thesweep.org)
More Local Notes
• Former Greenhornes and Soledad Brothers member Brian Olive celebrates the release of his second solo album, Two of Everything (on the Alive Naturalsound imprint and produced by Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach), Saturday at the Southgate House. The kaleidoscopic album, a playfully eclectic, accomplished mesh of various vintage ’60s/’70s Rock, Pop, Psych and Soul styles, is Olive’s masterpiece (so far), receiving solid critical notices that should only increase as he continues touring duties for the release. (To read more on the album, look for Brian Baker’s interview with Olive at citybeat.com.) Local Electronic band You, You’re Awesome and Cleveland’s Clovers open the 9:30 p.m. show. (www.brianolive.net)
• Singer/songwriter Kim Taylor is probably getting used to hearing her songs in films and TV shows. Perhaps the most licensed contemporary songwriter in Greater Cincinnati, Taylor’s songs have been used in numerous network television programs and several made-for-TV movies, but soon Taylor will find herself on the other side of the camera. The musician has signed on as one of the stars of director Matt Porterfield’s forthcoming indie film, I Used to Be Darker. Porterfield’s films like Putty Hill have been widely acclaimed, partly because of his eye for casting and coaching great performances out of non-professional actors in roles not too far from their real selves. Taylor plays Aunt Kim — who happens to be a singer/songwriter — in the movie, which starts filming Aug. 1. A New Yorker film blog recently ran a short article on the project and its use of Kickstarter for funding. Visit www.kickstarter.com and search “I Used to Be Darker” to lend your support. (kim-taylor.net)
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: email@example.com