Review of Sweet 75's S/T CD

Sweet 75 is at its best when hooking into a mean, angular guitar riff, when singer Yva Las Vegas belt out a rough, screamed vocal or the rhythm section locks into a driving beat. In other words, when it sounds like Nirvana. For most bands, this wouldn't so bad. But for Sweet 75, which features former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, it translates into a bit of a defeat.

After all, on the surface, it looks as if Novoselic went to great lengths to expand his musical self. Sweet 75 features Latin influences, 12-string guitar, a female singer and even a trumpet solo by Herb Alpert. But underneath, it all still beats to the heart of the tall, dark and lanky guy who smacked his head tossing his bass into the air at the MTV video awards.

Sweet 75 is experimental - but only in the way Nirvana was. Novoselic's anti-riffing on the album is a slight variation of Kurt Cobain's guitar work on In Utero. Las Vegas' vocals often take on Nirvana's familiar self-loathing tone: "I'm sleeping with failure/It's my defeat/The world's my ashtray/And you think less of me," she sings on "Lay Me Down."

But Sweet 75's sources of inspiration aren't the band's main problem, a band could do a lot worse than being a kindred spirit to Nirvana. It's the way that, despite the attempted diversity, the band's experiments come off as bland and often downright unlistenable.

"Bite My Hand" falls apart chasing a breakneck, hardcore tempo while Las Vegas' rough, bluesy voice screeches on like so many angry cats. More conventional tracks such as "Lay Me Down" and "Dogs" sound like heated-over Led Zeppelin III outtakes. The band shows some promise on "Fetch," "Red Dress" and "Oral Health," all of which feature the aforementioned angular guitar riffs, belted lyrics and driving beats.

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