Power-pop for an era of fear, Matthew Sweet's new full-length Sunshine Lies sounds like a moment of pleasure stolen in the middle of crippling uncertainty. Ever since 1991's Girlfriend, Sweet has had a way of balancing impure sentiments with guitar playing that pays tribute to uncontrolled emotion. On Sunshine Lies, Richard Lloyd and Ivan Julian provide a backdrop for a set of songs that are Sweet's deepest in years. "Time Machine" finds Sweet "ready to forget the past," while "Byrdgirl" and the prototypical power-pop stomp "Let's Love" go beyond formalism and nostalgia. As usual, Sweet alludes to pop masters on the order of The Beatles and Roger McGuinn, but Sunshine is a dark, hemmed-in record. Sweet might not be able to find a love that's "unfazed by a world of constant upheaval," as he sings on "Daisychain," but that's not going to stop him from trying.
Sun., Nov. 9, 8 p.m., 2008