"Sweet Fanny Adams" is a stadium rock album of monster proportions. Except on its release in 1974, the teenyboppers found it too loud and heavy metal and the serious rock fans still considered Sweet nothing more than a 3rd rate pop band. "SFA" limped into the British album charts for 2 weeks peaking at no.27......
However, time has been kind to Sweet. Both "Sweet Fanny Adams" and the follow-up album "Desolation Boulevard" have been hugely influential on scores of succesful rock bands since - Def Leppard being an obvious example. Sweet's pop grounding coupled fantastic harmonies and powerful riffs show through no better than on this album.
Produced by long-time associate Phil Wainman, "SFA" runs the whole spread of rock's emotions. The opener "Set Me Free" is a rapid-fire rocker that shows off Sweet's vocal strength to its limit. "Heartbreak Today" keeps up the pace with some stunning Andy Scott multi-tracked harmony guitar work.
"No You Don't" one the album's only two Chinn-Chapman songs (the other is "AC/DC") propels the band into progressive rock with synthesisers and cellos (!) coming to the fore, topped off with an emotive Steve Priest vocal. "Rebel Rouser" is a power-chord driven pop-rocker, probably the closest the album has to a huge hit single.
"Sweet FA" is six minutes worth of the most intensive and fluid riffing ever put to tape. Scott's guitar work just goes wild on this track. Brian Connolly puts in a commanding vocal and again their vocal harmonies are absolutely spot-on. "Restless" is fairly laid back although the pounding drums of Mick Tucker carry the song along well. And "Into The Night" is another power-chord fest featuring double-tracked Andy Scott vocals.
Only a cover of Joey Dee's "Peppermint Twist" lets the album down, and is probably a nod to record company's wishes for a watered-down pop 45, but the band played this on stage at the time and sound as though they're having a riot recording it.
On listening to this album and feeling the power and intensity of the performances, you're left wondering WHY Sweet didn't go on to become huge?? Pete Townshend was so impressed with their live show he offered them second-on-the-bill behind The Who at Charlton in 1974, except Brian Connolly was badly injured in a street fight and Sweet were unable to play. Also in 1974, a band with a similar style to Sweet's came along - broke all the rules that Sweet were capable of breaking and went on to become the biggest British band seen since The Beatles. They were called Queen.
But rock music in the mid-70s didn't come much better than this. Don't miss it this time round either.....