Sweetzerland Manifesto

Joe Perry

Accompanied by a slew of famous singers and songwriters, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry presents his sixth solo album Sweetzerland Manifesto. Steven Tyler’s foil and the co-writer of many of rock’s most iconic songs, gives forth to an album where Perry lets all of his imagination and eclectic heavy electric playing loose. And loose Sweetzerland Manifesto is — in the best possible sense.

From the chanting and tribal under Joe Perry’s slicing and muddy noodling on opener “Rumble In The Jungle,” to the snap and staccato tease of "Aye, Aye, Aye," with Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander fiery vocals leading the way, the album lifts off to a strong start. Taking it further, Perry teams with New York Dolls frontman David Johansen, who lends his low, crooning vocals and expert harmonica work to a trio of the album’s most alluring tunes — “I Wanna Roll,” “Haberdasher Blues,” and “I’m Going Crazy.” Meanwhile, Terry Reid, the noted British blues singer most famous for recommending Robert Plant to Jimmy Page when he formed Led Zeppelin, adds his mellifluous pipes to three more — “I’ll Do Happiness” (with Zak Starkey on drums), “Sick & Tired” and “Won’t Let Me Go.”

Perry takes the lead vocal for a cover of “Eve Of Destruction,” which includes Johnny Depp on drums. There really is no way to discern what melody Perry is circling the airport with on this version of P.F. Sloan’s famous protest song until we get to Depp’s tom-tom chorus. It’s just another example of the man once known as the better half of the Toxic Twins playing things for the looseness of the vibe and trusting his instincts. Altogether, Sweetzerland Manifesto is a noisy and fun record of uninhibited musicianship and exploration we haven’t heard from Perry in any recent years with Aerosmith’s recorded oeuvre.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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