On The Selfish Sweetness, Red Shirt Brigade's Scott Allen steps out from behind the keyboard to unveil 14 startlingly fresh and emotionally charged pop songs. From the gentle guitar chords at the beginning of "Computer Adios," it's crystal clear that Allen is far ahead of the curve in the songwriting game. Only 18 at the time of the album's recording, his musical and lyrical sensibilities are often feverish, sometimes restrained, yet always intense. The sheer complexity and infectious pop hooks on "Bed Hopping" hint at wonderful things to come. Sometimes, like on "She's So Nicotine," Allen is at his best as a pure singer/songwriter, his relaxed vocals and guitar carrying the song. The dramatic lullabies "Murder History" and "Welcome Oblivious" halt the album's often festive pace. Things pick up with "Ma!Ma!Ma!"; the song is full of organ, drums, and Allen's layered, pensive vocals. The disc ends simply, with Allen's Elliott Smith-approach to heartache. On "Early Morning Tells a Story," Allen croons wistfully and eloquently. His natural songwriting tendency is evident. The Selfish Sweetness was released soon after Allen's self-released solo debut, and by the time of its release, another solo album was already finished. Andrea Fontana's co-vocals on "Naked Hearts" hint at the collaborative effort that The Selfish Sweetness is. Allen called upon Cori Smith and Dana Basso for vocal support throughout the disc, while Matt Rickle assists on drums on two tracks and Julian Wetlin guests on bass. Allen's brother and fellow Red Shirt Brigade member Ryan Allen steps in on guitar on some tracks, and his father, Brad Allen, provides guitar support on the album as well. The album was recorded at Michigan's Our Leisure Studios. Suburban Sprawl Records released the disc in 2002.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer