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Sweet Justice (self-titled)

By David Tarlow, Contributor
Sunday, October 24, 2004 @ 1:00 AM


(Real O Mind)

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Former Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs frontman/guitar-slinger Frank Meyer (also a longtime editor here at ol’ KNAC.COM) returns to the rock with his new outfit Sweet Justice. A fiery three-piece in the tradition of Grand Funk Railroad, Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies and Beck, Bogart and Appice, Sweet Justice effortlessly fuse hard rock with soul, power pop and punk to create a sound that’s pure classic rock.

Be it the Cheap Trick-esque hard rock pop of “Guns of Navarone” and “Last Night,” or the Stonesy swagger of “Sold Me Out” and “Slide,” Meyer and the boys prove they can lay down virtually any kind of groove and pull it off with ease. Want Motor City white boy soul rock circa 1967? Check out “Outta Site.” Want ghetto blues circa Vietnam 1970? Peep “Johnny Ricco and the Kid.” Wanna smoke a splif and groove on some dub reggae? “Hey Christina.” Blues? “Baby Love.” Rockabilly? “Travelin’ Blues.” And so on.

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Some might accuse them of reaching too far or trying to hard to please everybody, except that like the best rock ‘n’ roll albums, they manage to make it all sound like… well…ROCK. I mean, didn’t Zeppelin and the Stones and Aerosmith cover a lot of ground back in their heyday yet still always sound like kick ass hard rock bands? That’s why it works here. When they do ballads like “True To You” and “Don’t Cry on Somebody Else’s Shoulder,” they don’t sound cheesy and they ain't power ballads. They just sound like the kinda tunes you’d hear on Sticky Fingers or Revolver. And when they get down with Monique Powell from Save Ferris on “If You Look Like a Star,” Sly Stone comes to mind, but it still sounds like a rock ‘n’ roll band sluggin’ it out in the bars on a Saturday night.

And have no fear fans of The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, Bellrays and ADZ, the bands in which Meyer, drummer Chris Markwood and bassist Bruce Duff hail from, Sweet Justice ain’t lightweight. They rock hard and fast enough times to make you all happy. “Blood & Alcohol” is as slammin’ as any ADZ tune, and the knife-fight lyrics and dual guitar saber battles on “Johnny Ricco” is pure Cheetahs delight.

In essence, the best of what their previous bands had to offer, but streamlined, with better, more diverse songs and better production. Like I said, sounds like classic rock to me.

* * * * ½


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