Matthew Sweet is best known for his 1991 album “Girlfriend,” that personifies a moment in nineties power pop. It still holds up in its lyrical candor and equally straightforward instrumentals that could be a textbook example of what you might hear on college radio in the early nineties. “Girlfriend” is an excellent album to revisit in its lack of pretense and general catchiness, plus the guy can really shred.
Sweet’s most recent album, “Modern Art,” maintains the angry sweetness established in “Girlfriend,” but shows more experimenting in layers and volumes, introducing previously unexplored nods toward psychedelia and folk. While this album is slightly more complicated than his previous releases, it’s still an easy listen that grows as it becomes more familiar.
As a live performer, Sweet is highly experienced, promising a well-arranged and solid performance. He could play his big hits with his eyes closed at this point, but has been exploring new territory enough lately to avoid sets from becoming old hat. SPACE feels like a more “adult” venue than the Hideouts and the Empty Bottles of the world, providing reserved seating and a more formal concert experience. Sweet is a professional musician in the most positive sense of the word at this point and has put together the perfect setup to really show off. (Reilly Gill)
August 2 at SPACE in Evanston, 1245 Chicago Avenue, (847)492-8860. 8pm. $25-$65. All ages.