The Trouble with Sweeney – Play Karen and Others EP

The Trouble with Sweeney
Play Karen and Others EP

The Trouble With Sweeney started in 1999 at the prompting of Joey Sweeney, who first made his mark with indie-pop favorites The Barnabys. The Philadelphia group quickly recorded a self-titled EP and then a full-length, Dear Life, both of which were released on the Burnt Toast Vinyl Label. This new release practically exudes the group’s likelihood to make a real name for themselves.
The title track, “Karen” starts off the EP with a fun and whimsical love song. It’s sweet without being saccharine, upbeat without being chipper, and clever without being ostentatious. “Karen” is the perfect pop song to preface the rollicking simplicity of the joyful “Most of It’s Mine.” Rounding out the first half of the album, the sweet, rootsy guitars and banjo on “Lovers Get Results” are accompanied by some lovely woodwind work. The mellow and bittersweet tune sounds like one that Belle and Sebastian would have produced if they hailed from Tennessee.
The second half of the album hints at a slow-down but is resurrected by the loud tavern-style rock of “Oh! It’s Mortifying,” a decided departure from the rest of the record but still an immensely enjoyable rock songs complete with chugging guitars and thick vocals. The real show-stopper, though, is the doleful rendition of Paul Simon’s “The Only Living Boy in New York.” The delivery, which is evocative of an artist like Elliott Smith, is an emotionally charged masterpiece that benefits from a surprising rise and swell of sound on rhythm elements and a single mournful harmonica.
Play Karen and Others is a fabulous introduction to a band that you can fully expect to hear more great things from in the future. It most certainly foreshadows an enjoyable second full-length from this talented group of artists.