During a career that stretches back to the mid-’80s, Matthew Sweet has never followed trends, though his landmark 1991 album Girlfriend was responsible for starting one—its bone-dry, caterwauling sonics opening up a wild and picturesque new terrain for restless singer/songwriters to inhabit and explore. Two decades later, Sweet has once again swung for the fences—and connected—with the boldly experimental yet still deeply personal Modern Art.
Defiantly unorthodox, but often playfully so, Modern Art is a stealth album, embedded with half-hidden hooks lurking in its recesses, just out of focus, waiting to be discovered. Nope, this is not a one-listen album, but a progressive deepening has always characterized the most memorable longplayers, whose authors rarely put all their cards on the table right away.
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