Sweets live on 26 June 2014

This is pop music you won’t be embarrassed to be seen with.

On 26 June Sweets showed The Retreat how it’s meant to be.

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Sweets understand pop. They really understand it. And they put on a show that’s effortless and fun and inclusive, without being diluted or saccharine. There was real fun on stage. This wasn’t heavy work for them (or if it was, they didn’t let it on). Sweets were having as much a party as their audience. They were enjoying themselves in their element.

This song is about human nature, but not the band! More like what you want to do with your bodies.

The songs themselves, however, were not transparent or inane. Sweets bring their catchy vocal hooks and danceable grooves to lyrics that explore the darkness of dysfunctional relationships, yearnings for the unattainable and the struggle between our emotions and our intellect.

This is a song about having a crush on a person because you’re pretty sure that you can make them better. Like you think you could turn them into the person you can see in your head but they’re just a bit shit at the moment.

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Sweets are a well-oiled musical machine. Rhythm section Pete (on bass) and George (on drums) lock into the groove of each song with ease. Both lend backing vocals as well, with Pete delivering a perfectly-timed falsetto climax toward the end of the last song.

Annabelle leads the group on vocals and the cutest little keyboard you’ve seen this week. With a voice as pure as it is flexible, Annabelle spun through the set without breaking a sweat.

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Where Sweets really wins, however, is their relationship with their audience. Their antics included weaving sneaky OutKast covers in the middle of their originals, inviting fans on stage to sing along and breaking away from the lyrics to tell stories and dance.

Indeed, during their performance of their single ‘Swagger’ in the middle of the set Annabelle invited a (male) fan on stage to sing the lead vocals instead of her. And for their encore, they invited a dozen of their biggest fans on stage for a chorus of Doo-Wop (That Thing) by Lauryn Hill.

If there was a prize for the best-slash-worst stage banter I would maybe beat you but it would be a very close race.

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From an explosive launch last year, Sweets have grown. In many ways. They’ve grown up. They’ve grown more comfortable. They’ve grown more confident. And they put on a damn good show.

Catch them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/listentosweets and on their website: http://www.sweetsmusic.com

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