Matthew Sweet / Susanna Hoffs

Under the Covers, Vol. 2

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A sequel to Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs' 2007 stroll through the '60s was perhaps inevitable, at least as inevitable as the decision to devote Under the Covers, Vol. 2 to the super sounds of the '70s. Sweet and Hoffs tend to pick '70s songs that are a bit more familiar than their '60s selections, never digging out a Me Decade equivalent of Marmalade's "I See the Rain" or the Zombies' "Care of Cell #44," but instead punctuating AM pop hits and FM rock staples like "Sugar Magnolia," "Second Hand News," "All the Young Dudes," "You're So Vain," "I've Seen All Good People," and "Maggie May" with power pop by the Raspberries ("Go All the Way"), Big Star ("Back of a Car"), and Todd Rundgren, who has no less than two songs from Something/Anything? featured here. The influence of that 1972 double LP can be heard in the similarly homespun production of Under the Covers, Vol. 2 but where Rundgren was open-ended, Sweet neatly ties up every loose end with the care of a pop fetishist, making sure all the harmonies and guitar licks are in place, never adding any untasteful elements. Sometimes, everything is a little bit too pat and pretty -- particularly on "Sugar Magnolia," whose processed guitars sparkle too brightly -- but the duo's enduring, endearing love for this music is evident, sometimes infectious, and, at its best, throws out some surprises, like Susanna's soulful reading of "Maggie May."

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