Review - Sweetzerland Manifesto

Steve Taylor-Bryant heads out of his Aerosmith comfort zone and listens to Joe Perry's latest album Sweetzerland Manifesto...

I’ve never been the kind of person that collects the solo releases of musicians from within bands I have so much love for, mainly because in my twisted imagination it feels like I’m cheating on the members of the band, and what would the singer think if I loved something by the guitarist? Strange way of thinking I know but I’m not likely to change any time soon. Which brings me to today. I’m finally listening to a Joe Perry album. I’ve waited a long time for the sublime Aerosmith to hang up their bluesy career and I now feel that Steven Tyler wouldn’t mind too much of I checked on his pal Joe. Having not listened to Perry’s quite vast back catalogue before, I wasn’t sure what to expect and that lack of expectation has made me change the way I write a review as I have no comparison to fall back on so if you’ll allow I just list the song title, give a brief note of my instant feeling upon hearing said tune and then try and wrap up my thoughts at the end. So join me as I start Sweetzerland Manifesto.

Rumble in the Jungle - Very tribal, chants, like the use of a cowbell very underrated percussion instrument, very recognisable Perry riffs. If you’d never heard this album and this was all you had to go off you’d guess Aerosmith.

I’ll Do Happiness - Proper old school blues rock jam night fare.

Aye, Aye, Aye - Brilliant driving beats and drumming that make me wish I was watching the band play live in some seedy bar somewhere. There’s a bit of a Robert Palmer feel to the vocal. The blues piano is just lush and I’ve not used that word since 1991.

I Wanna Roll - Ooh very Nick Cave. I like this but can’t possibly tell you why.

Sick & Tired - Another great funky start, almost spoken word lyrically, the kind of tune you’d expect from Perry’s Hollywood Vampires.

Haberdasher Blues - Proper old fashioned blues, genuine pleasure to listen to.

Spanish Sushi - Movie soundtrack feel, evocative synthesisers adding mood. Great guitars.

Eve of Destruction - Kept singing ‘Hey boy don’t you lie on the tracks’ over intro. Lyrically great but gave me nothing musically like the previous tracks. Important words though. Wish I knew the original tune so I could compare.*

I’m Going Crazy - The Doors meets Aerosmith, what a fun little song.

Won’t Let Me Go - Familiar, but I don’t know why. Bit Aerosmith Nine Lives maybe? Bit Led Zeppelin perhaps? Great closing track.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this record. There was some very skilful musicianship on show especially from Perry who is one of my favourite guitarists. He can really sing though and I think that was the stand out reaction I had listening along. I knew Robin Zander, David Johansen, and Terry Reid were going to be involved and the entire ensemble delighted on every track but it’s definitely Perry that deserves all the plaudits. A Joe Perry solo outing was definitely worth the wait.

Image - Amazon

[*Editor's Footnote - Eve of Destruction was a protest song written in 1964 by P F Sloan, you can hear the most famous recording of the original by Barry McGuire from 1965 HERE]

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