© 2024 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs Have It Covered

With each sharing an unabashed love for '60s pop songwriting, it seems perfectly natural that singer/guitarists Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs would wind up working together. While both are heavily indebted to the jangly guitars of power-pop icons like Big Star, neither come across as being derivative; rather, by working together, they are able to bring out the best in each other's hook-laden pop songcraft.

Sweet began his recording career playing guitar for the jangle-pop band Oh-OK, and recorded his first solo record, Inside, in 1986. However, it wasn't until the 1991 release of his third album, Girlfriend, that his career really took off. The album's raw sound (it was the first he had recorded with a live band) helped propel the title track up the singles charts and cemented his place as an alternative rock icon.

Hoffs, as singer, guitarist, and founding member of 80s pop group the Bangles, began her career in 1984 with the release of their self-titled EP in 1982, with their first full-length album following two years later. Their second album went to No. 1 on the strength of the singles "Manic Monday" and, most famously, "Walk Like an Egyptian." After the band's dissolution in 1989, Hoffs pursued her own fruitful solo career that resulted in the release of two albums.

Though they have collaborated in the past (they recorded a song with the band Ming Tea for the first Austin Powers film, as well as appearing in it), it is on their newest release, Under the Covers, Vol. 1, that they come into their own. Under the moniker Sid n' Susie, the collection of covers of 15 pop standards such as the Beatles' "And Your Bird Can Sing" and Neil Young's "Everyone Knows This is Nowhere" showcases Sweet and Hoff's shared enthusiasm and adoration for both the songs and the era as a whole.

Copyright 2006 XPN