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July 23, 2024

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Sweetbelly Freakdown
Sweetbelly Freakdown (Jade Tree)

By: Sean Gilchrist

Don't let the name fool you, Sweetbelly Freakdown is not some funky rock band. This is the debut full-length from the Washington DC quartet whose members actually have some history. Sweetbelly is basically the final lineup of the semi-legendary DC band, Swiz. That band started in '87 and released a few full lengths and singles (some go for big money among collectors) on the labels Sammich, Jade Tree, and THD. When Swiz broke up in the early nineties, drummer Alex Daniels went on to play in Severin while guitarist Jason Farrell began doing graphic design for Dischord Records releases. Now that they're back together, minus the Swiz moniker, Sweetbelly Freakdown has toned down it's style just a bit. The album opens with "Pleas To the Action Figure" with singer Shawn Brown screaming "Help me Obi Wan Kenobi!...Jesus doesn't seem to be listening". Brown's singing style has been said to resemble that of an early Black Flag era Rollins, but you be the judge. The best songs on this CD are MCR, Pit Dog, and Mudmouth which brings to mind early Fugazi. Thruout this self titled release, Sweetbelly Freakdown's energy does excite and makeup for the "sloppiness" of the musicianship. The only complaints is that there's not enough bass in the recording. Sweetbelly Freakdown is definitely a CD well worth your time and money. Catch them touring the US and Japan in March with Dischord recording artists Bluetip, which coincidentally features SF members Jason Farrell and Dave Stern.
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