New Music Review: Sweetheart – XOXOX

(Please accept my apology as it’s been almost two weeks since my last post.  I hope my 3 readers won’t be too upset.  As it turns out, school takes precedent over blogging. Until blogging about music starts to pay the bills, of course…..)


There’s a little four-piece Vancouver band I was introduced to back in June who go by the name of Sweetheart.  They’re fronted by Marty Zylstra on vocals and guitar, Matthew Kittle on drums, Sammy Stevenson on guitar and Jason Wheeler on bass.  Sweetheart released their 6-song EP, XOXOX on September 10,2011.  It’s the follow-up to their 2008 LP Map of the Human Heart, and it’s interesting, to say the least.

“Interesting how?”, you ask?

Well, let me tell you:

  • Sweetheart have got power pop rock nailed.  Not in a corny, Nickelback/Theory of a Deadman kind of way, though. Sweetheart‘s music is much more aurally stimulating.  Zylstra and guitarist Sammy Stevenson have nailed down catchy guitar hooks probably best exemplified in their lead off single David Bowie Is Dead?, as well as Love Disaster, which is likely the catchiest tune from the album on an album full of catchy tunes.
  • Sweetheart‘s rhythm is very danceable.  Well, maybe more mosh-able.  Their mix of pop rock infused with a little bit of punk adds an element of dance confusion to the point where you don’t know whether or not to break out a jig or throw your fists in the air and bang your head.  Regardless, the fact that you are wanting to move to the music is a good thing.
  • Noticed I haven’t discussed lyric content yet?  Well, it’s safe to say that Zylstra’s lyrical anecdotes are arguably the most “interesting” part of this EP.  With a title like XOXOX, you may expect a lot of “I love you more than life itself” kind of sap. Well, you don’t get the sap, but you do get some honest—ahem—lyrics.  Depth of emotion isn’t exactly prevalent with lines like, “but you’re just a bitch who’s digging for gold” and “creeping on the internet/you suck/I’m better alone” (from Love Disaster), but brutal honesty sure is.  Fortunately, the final song on the EP, Less Conversation redeems the album’s overall all-too-honest lyric theme with some of the of the best lines on the album and even a few metaphors!
Each song on XOXOX is indeed terribly catchy, which is exactly what a power pop band would want.  And this is some pretty decent power pop.  It’s too bad the album is only six songs, as all six are high energy and high tempo; I’d like to hear something of the mellower variety from Sweetheart.  You know, for a little contrast.
The band is currently doing their best to spread the word about their album and I’m sure that with the vastness of hooks, melodies, and overall effectiveness, just about any of the six songs on the album could be heard on rock radio.  XOXOX is indeed a great example of how diverse, yet talented, the Vancouver music scene truly is.
To recap:
  • What I enjoyed about Sweetheart’s XOXOX: it’s musically solid, complete with great guitar hooks and catchy-as-hell melodies; rife with tight rhythms, great for a jig and/or a mosh, and the lack of sappy love tunes (as one might expect with an album with its name) is also pleasing.
  • What I didn’t enjoy about XOXOX: personally, I’m not a fan of a majority of the lyrics, but maybe that’s just me being an asshole; the tunes on the album are very similar in tempo/beat. I’d love to hear something by Sweetheart in a shuffle or 3/4 timing, just for kicks.
Check out Sweetheart at their bandcamp website right here: , where you can stream all their tunes for free, or pay a mere $6 for the entire digital download of XOXOX.
XOXOX tracklisting:
  1. Perfect
  2. David Bowie is Dead?
  3. Love Disaster
  4. London Girl
  5. Name & Numbers
  6. Less Conversation


~ by DR on October 26, 2011.

2 Responses to “New Music Review: Sweetheart – XOXOX”

  1. What I like about you, D, is that you’re not giving fake reviews to be everyone’s friend.

    As far as Sweetheart, I like them. Their energy is great. I would like to hear some more mellow tunes for contrast, but maybe that is not who they are. I have a feeling if Marty started writing mellow music we’d all be listening with a box of kleenex, feeling mighty depressed.

  2. great review dylan!
    i bet if you re-listened you’d see how dark the lyrics “can” be.

    downstairs/to the basement/we made our great escape/into the darkness/away from all your friends i fucking hate….this is what/my life’s about/it’s not my fault/don’t leave me out/you are all I drink about/it’s not my fault don’t leave me out – from name & numbers (track 5)

    love u 🙂

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