If you’ve ever spent countless hours on YouTube, chances are that you’ve come across the Tipsy Bartender at some point. Marvel at this overly happy mad scientist whose shtick is concocting cocktails that would send Willy Wonka to Alcoholics Anonymous. His recipes fuse liquor with such confectionery treats as Gummy Bears, Sour Patch Kids, Warheads, Twizzlers, and Oreos, possibly guaranteeing the double whammy of cirrhosis and diabetes. However, regardless of the health risks, his creations tastefully work, and these libations have become staples of suburban patio parties nationwide. Now, if you take that concept (something rough mixed with something sweet) to music, then you’ve created another beast…
The Catskills in New York was the location in which an extraordinary event took place. Although the aforementioned Tipsy Bartender wasn’t producing the powerful elixir that came to be, four individuals with an amalgamation of musical influences (consisting of Johnny Thunders, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Georgia Satellites) came together at a bar. Well, specifically, it was a bar mitzvah, and this intersection of liquid chemistry collided when said individuals took over the stage for an impromptu set. Perhaps it was too much Kosher wine, but regardless, the alignment of vocalist/rhythm guitarist Dave Tierney, guitarist Lorne Behrman, bassist Sam Hariss, and drummer Darren Fried went down as smooth as a Jack and Tab. Though the guys felt that they had fumbled through this improvised jam, the realization bubbled that their talents and tastes could feed each other, and pour out something special. This wonderfully toxic mixture of rock ‘n’ rollers decided on christening themselves the Sweet Things.
Now, these weren’t just some amateurs that watched the faux Judas Priest biopic “Rock Star” and decided to crash coming of age celebrations for juveniles. No, all four of the Sweet ones had eventually honed their chops in a multitude of bands. Dave Tierney fronted the Sharp Lads; Lorne Behrman plucked away with the Dead Tricks, L.E.S. Stitches, and Dimestore Haloes; Sam Hariss tied it up with Behrman by playing with Stiletto, the Kee Kartel, and the Bowery Boys (in case you’re trying to keep score); and Darren Fried, a veteran of the New York scene, pounded the skins with Mazard and Tongue. Although inebriation possibly played a factor in the formation, the Sweet Things were serious fans of classic rock ‘n’ roll, and were itching to get themselves into the studio. This culmination of events led to their first single “Love To Leave” in 2016.
Fast forwarding to 2019 (May 24th to be precise), the Sweet Things dropped their debut album via Spaghetty Town Records. “In Borrowed Shoes, On Borrowed Time” sonically blurs the Mason-Dixon line, which isn’t some going-through-the-motions feat. There have been a number of bands that tried this back in the 1970s (and later), but they failed miserably, and those records drifted off into obscurity. Sure, the Rolling Stones, Faces, and years later, the Black Crowes masterfully crafted songs that two-fisted a North meets South flavoring. What separates the Sweet Things (and to a higher degree, kills the argument that they’re some kind of copycat group) is their pedigree of influences. “Almost Faded”, for instance, takes the Stones sound through the lower part of the States, while wearing platforms you’d see on the New York Dolls. “Coke’n” is a fueler that could easily be sung by Johnny Thunders while the blusier side of Guns ‘N’ Roses are holding court. Close your eyes and “Dr. Crazy Girl” brings to mind Dead Boys-era Stiv Bators fronting Hanoi Rocks. If Mott the Hoople had ever reunited and went glam punk, then “Fix To Kick” would be THAT sound, and it sort of pisses you off that Ian Hunter didn’t ever do that! As you’ve probably gathered, the Sweet Things have masterfully crafted an album that blends all of their heroes into a progressive sound that’s unique.
Riding along on this whiskey and Moon Pie adventure is the incomparable Alejandro Escovedo (formerly of Rank & File on guest vocals), the legendary Uptown Horns (known for their work with the Rolling Stones and James Brown), the harmonica talents of Brian Burd (from Daddy Long Legs), the keyboard talents of Rob Clores (from the Black Crowes), and backing vocals from Liza Colby, who fronts her own band, the Liza Colby Sound. You could listen to this album all day long, dissecting it, and finding something different with each listen. You’ll hear punk, glam, R & B, Southern rock, metal, and perhaps a new attitude about life. After all, life is what we make of it, and if the Sweet Things can intervene, it will be one sweet ass ride.
Check out their video for the opening track “Liquor Lightning”:
Purchase a digital copy of the debut album (or pre-order it on vinyl) from the Spaghetty Town Records website.
Keep up with the latest Sweet Things news on Facebook.