Sometimes people surprise you. You think you know someone, but everyone’s got layers and sometimes those shine through. For example, I know Evan Charles, the lead singer for The Sweet Nuthin. I have seen this band live multiple times, I have their demos, and I have visited Evan at his place of employment, but nothing could prepare me for what I heard on The Sweet Nuthin EP when opening track “Play for Keeps” kicked into high gear. The song doesn’t wait long to unleash a brutal energy behind powerful drums and a ridiculously huge guitar riff. By the six-second mark, you know you’re in for a hell of a time. But when it gets to the chorus, and Charles unleashes the line, “Oh but honey you’ve gotta understand / Just ‘cuz I’m with you, that don’t mean I wanna be your man” it’s with a ferocity that is unimaginable emanating from his placid, friendly countenance.
Throughout this five-song EP the lyrics retain that classic rock generality, but Charles sells every last bit with his earnest and stylized delivery. And the band rocks out with unbridled passion even during the ballad, “Turn Me Out Again” (which is not employing the hip-hop definition of turning one out). The Sweet Nuthin are one of the hardest-working bands in Austin, playing a show just about every chance they get, and the resulting tightness is apparent on this recording. The band is locked in, and with the energy involved it’s somehow never sloppy. Part of that may be due to the excellence of the production, mixing and mastering on the record. I don’t know who did it, but they got very clear sound from all the instruments and were able to exceed the expectations I had for this project.
In fact, this is a great first release for The Sweet Nuthin. In my last review of the group, I compared them to the Faces and Free Energy, but each of those elements is dissipating from the picture as the band hones in on its own sound. On their Facebook page, they describe their genre as “Rock n’ Roll.” That’s it. No subgenres or microgenres, no qualifiers or modifiers. And that’s the essence of The Sweet Nuthin’s sound – straight, uncut rock n’ roll shot directly into your heart.
Catch the guys Saturday at their EP release party at the Swan Dive. The Sweet Nuthin go on at midnight after the Happen-Ins and the White White Lights. And if, for some reason, it’s more convenient for you to go to Lake Travis, they’ll be opening for Carolyn Wonderland Sunday at Uncle Billy’s Rooftop out at the lake. Like I said, busy guys.