PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


The Mooney Suzuki: Electric Sweat

Jon Singer

The Mooney Suzuki

Electric Sweat

Label: Gammon
US Release Date: 2002-04-09

Urgent and exciting, Electric Sweat by The Mooney Suzuki is not for the passive listener. With 10 noisy and racing songs, the album gets blood pumping in a hurry. The Mooney Suzuki arms its attack with the standard rock arsenal of two guitars, bass, and drums. All four instruments remain tastefully raw and unpolished while fusing blues and punk influences. The four-piece band from New York doesn't shy away from comparisons to classic rockers like Iggy Pop or the Rolling Stones. Instead, they grab those influences by the scruff of the neck, increase the beats per minute, and turn up their amps for good measure.

Electric Sweat begins with its title track in which a repetitive blues riff is quickly upended by a counter beat and dominating melody. "In a Young Man's Mind" follows, maintaining the fast pace. "Oh Sweet Susanna" is a naturally sweetened pop song with an instantly addictive chorus. Its great guitar sound is smothered in vintage tube amp reverb. Another exceptional track, "The Broken Heart", keeps the same feel and pulls off a surprisingly dead-on Jimi Hendrix vocal tribute. Both are excellent songs and showcase The Mooney Suzuki's ability to write great melodies within different settings.

Singer and guitarist Sammy James Jr. writes contagious and straight-forward melodies that perfectly compliment the upbeat songs. James' voice is thick and strong, and drips with sarcasm at times. Lyrically, James stays safely in rock star land. "In a young man's mind / It's a simple world / There's a little room for music / And the rest is girls", James sings on "In a Young Man's Mind".

Graham Tyler's guitar playing is the heart and soul of Electric Sweat. Tyler delves into electrified blues stylings that become his own raw sound. In addition to ripping into fuzz-filled guitar solos, Tyler has the sensibility to add subtle punches when he sees fit. The incredible energy behind The Mooney Suzuki, however, is its rhythm section. Augie Wilson's drumming is relentless and irresistible to antsy toe-tappers. Michael Bang's bass runs laps around the fret board, pacing the race that is Electric Sweat. Three more driving songs add to the already solid album. "A Little Bit of Love", "It's Not Easy", and "I Woke Up This Mornin'" all keep up the pace and refuse to give listeners a rest. Even two instrumental blues numbers, "It's Showtime Pt. II" and "Electrocuted Blues", stay loud and energetic.

The Mooney Suzuki was wise to keep Electric Sweat at 10 tracks so that no excess filler tracks were necessary. The album is concise and powerful, and will draw more and more fans to their already raving shows. The only uncertainty about The Mooney Suzuki is what they will do to follow up Electric Sweat. They will no doubt continue their restless touring, but it seems as though a successful statement and distinctive sound are created and decided upon. How the band will break out of this niche is anyone's guess. The album contains few hints of new horizons. Regardless, Electric Sweat can be enjoyed now, and The Mooney Suzuki may once again deliver something wonderful that no one foresees.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.


Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.


'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.


ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.


The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.


Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.