Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
Kids, when they're the ages of the four members of the Cleveland/Canton, Ohio-based band The Big Sweet, can't help but be plotting just how they're going to escape from the place where they grew up. They're counting down the days until graduation - already overcome with senior-itis - so that they can get the hell out of dodge, off to somewhere different, somewhere better. It's just normal. It's part of being 17 or 18 and itchy, antsy to get out and see what else there is. It's that need to be away from home, living on your own for the first time, out from under the roof and the watchful and demanding gaze of mom and dad. Kids this age are unable to appreciate where they are, what they've got and just how good they have it.
The boys in The Big Sweet tend to come across as something other. They are refined youngsters who are already beyond their years. The music they make seems to be an extension of a precociousness that is hard to believe. Their indie rock acumen and the very unique skill of sounding like they aren't students of the genre is phenomenal and quite impressive. They come across as young bucks who have been listening to Big Star, The Replacements and Guided By Voices for decades and yet they're of an age where they should be stumped, asking, "Who are Alex Chilton and Paul Westerberg?" The Big Sweet is already writing songs that are touching down in cool, urban sprawls, where place has become less of a hindrance and more of a place to deal with, a place that people have come to terms with as a home that's never going to go away.
Lead singer Sam Regas, guitarist/keyboardist Brad Berbari, bassist Matt McDonald and drummer Drew Watson are already writing songs about the melancholy that's setting in, that usually leads to the habitual 5 o'clock stop-in at the convenience store for a six-pack of whatever's cheapest. It's enough to make Robert Pollard want to give them a huge hug. They write about having a charmed feeling about a place that you're pretty sure you don't want to leave. It's grown on you. Regas sings, "This town is covered in ice," but it's just a wry observance, not one of annoyance. He sings about the passing of the seasons and it's as if growing older, stuck in the same place you've always been never felt any better.