A record of pure, raw, pelvic-thrusting, tight-leather rock ‘n’ roll is hard to come by these days. My old favourite pastime of thumbing through the latest releases, currently makes my ears cry. Recently, I began to wonder if anyone can save us from the turd tsunami of songs dedicated to large body parts and “paper”.
Even after an on-stage collapse, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry has delivered to us, his Sweetzerland Manifesto. Being one of the most critically acclaimed guitarists of all time, I already fully appreciate that he has made the effort. Especially as he’s roped along an envious bunch of guest musicians to help him.
Sweetzerland Manifesto features fellow Hollywood Vampires member and actor Johnny Depp. Depp helped produce the album in his own home studio and plays on Perry’s cover of Barry McGuire’s ‘Eve of Destruction’. Although the song is quite listenable, the passion of McGuire’s political protest is lost in this version.
The record begins with something that sounds like it came straight out of 2002’s Time Machine. This mystic intro in the form of ‘Rumble In The Jungle’, is something I’d much rather skip.
Despite these two minor setbacks, Sweetzerland Manifesto is pure rock n roll. ‘I’ll Do Happiness’ has all the energy of a gospel choir and enough positivity to last me one whole week. “I think about the next thing that you’re gonna say. And it’s like the words slide down off me anyway.” sings Terry Reid with an attitude usually reserved for Mariah Carey.
Robin Zander from Cheap Tricks lends his voice to ‘Aye, Aye, Aye’, a clean-cut leather rock song. Guitar solos? Check. Jazzy piano? Check. Husky Vocals? CHECK. Thank god.
There’s also an instrumental track amongst Perry’s Manifesto. ‘Spanish Sushi’ is such a fitting title for the three and a half minute long guitar showcase. Here is where we can just sit and enjoy the sound of Perry’s fingering. Ahem.
New York Dolls’ David Johanson steps up to the mic for Haberdasher Blues. Johanson adds a little playfulness to the record, with his loose chatter. In fact, this whole record is a great time and a great example of why Joe Perry is in the Songwriter Hall Of Fame.
This record isn’t anything new, but just great solid rock. Something, I think we’re all in dire need of. Sweetzerland Manifesto is like a ham sandwich, neither thrilling nor dull. But always satisfying.