Dan Potthast – Sweets and Meats

5 out of 5

Label: Asian Man Records

Produced by: Roger Tschann, Steve Choi (engineered by)

I know if I was a better reviewer of random things, I’d be applying strict criteria across the board, and I’d tell you about how Dan Potthast’s silly sweetness sometimes swings too far in a silly sweet direction, and that maybe his simple rock / pop hooks are, on occasion, as predictable as they are catchy… but, hey, we gotta have some kind of baseline for the things we like, and I like Dan.

Specifically: the Dan of Eyeballs and Sweets and Meats era, during which he channeled an (appreciably) endless knack for that simple sweet stuff into albums that balanced it all out: the sing-song lyrics have accompanying tracks flush with great imagery and off-kilter thoughts or statements; every nostalgia-informed hook has a song that twists and turns or quirks in an incredibly surprising and rewarding way.

Sweets and Meats is maybe the most 50/50 of all those things of any Dan release, which is maybe right in that title: sweet stuff being cheap and ephemeral; meat being weighty and durable. The album is perfect in its flow between the two styles, which also mix and match their presentation: Dan solo on guitar might be a sweet or a meat; a pop track versus something rockier or more emotive might be one or the other; when accompaniment steps in on drums or bass or guitar – same.

You’ll roll your eyes at some of this stuff, then chuckle the next moment, then catch yourself listening in as Dan hits on a great line; the whole time you will be tapping your foot, and I have never not had this album on repeat after a single spin, meaning soon enough, you’re singing along as well, finding every sweety and meaty moment to be your favorite.