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CD REVIEW: Sweeper - Frame
By Steve Allat - 02/22/2005 - 01:20 AM EST

Artist: Sweeper
Album: Frame
CD Review: Label: Independent - Are You Listening? Records
Tracks: 10
Released: 2004
For Fans Of: David Smith (see review)
Fav Tracks: Miles Away, Unaware, Coming Out Wrong, Killing The Very Thing

Sweeper is Simon Widdowson along with a few great players he'd met as a producer along his travels. In the end, though, 'Frame' is Simon's baby.

Backing up Simon are 3 impressive musicians in their own right - bassist Kelly Simons, King Black Acid drummer Jason Bedard and Everclear keyboardist James Beaton. They play beautifully behind Simon's compositions.

Emotional music as well as thoughtful lyrics are what 'Frame' is all about, without getting carried away with too many words or melodic changes - it's simple & straight forward. Besides knowing how to say what he wants, he also knows when to just fill in moment with the right sound. Simon's warm vocals create a cozy atmosphere and the songs end up sounding warm too. The soft fuzz guitar and recording style helps there, too.

Lyrically, Simon quietly asserts himself without ever being overbearing. Words about life's choices as well as it's ups and downs are all fair game as he ponders existence and relationships in a way that is very down to earth and relatable. While this is not the most upbeat disc, it has a very honest, even feel which is at least as important as just attempting to put on a happy face.

Even though his style kind of sounds reminiscent of others, I never could make any direct comparison, which is fantastic, because all you're left with is Sweeper, plain and simple. I recognized his production style (David Smith) more than his musical style. Well done.

An all around great talent, from writing the songs right through performing and production, this is a CD that you really can listen to over an over again. It's understated simplicity may be lost upon just one listen, but if you repeat, I'm pretty sure you'll appreciate the subtle strength of everything this recording has to offer.

Contact: Simon Widdowson
Website: Are You Listening? Records

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