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Sweetedge - Blue Conversation EP
Some artists are impossible to pigeonhole. Della Perrett’s Sweetedge is a good example. Their Blue Conversation EP mixes a wide range of rhythmic, stylistic and melodic influences to produce something which is both eclectic and disparate and yet at the same time works as a coherent whole. I guess that good songs are good songs, and there are good songs here. Really good, strong songs, full of unexpected melodies, engaging lyrics, rhythmic quirks and flourishes, imaginative and varied arrangements, all topped with fine musicianship.
The fact that all songs are written by Della Perrett helps to give the project coherence but the fact is that Sweetedge would not be Sweetedge without Della’s voice. It’s one of those voices. You know, one of those voices which on first hearing sounds unconventional, on second hearing unique, on third hearing just, well, special. It’s the sort of voice which is very hard to describe and even harder to forget because, once you’ve heard it, you want to hear it again and again. So I’m not going to try to describe it. You will just have to listen for yourself.
The only problem with the Blue Conversation EP is that it’s not long enough. Roll on the album!
A Seal of approval from a South Coast blues legend...
Sweetedge: The Nell Gwyne, Southsea, July 28th 2007.
I hadn't seen Sweetedge since their creditable performance on
Southsea Band Stand almost two years earlier, and I knew the
line-up had changed since then, so it was with great interest that
I went to see them at the Nell Gywne. After some confusion with the
evenings line-up, the "dreaded double booking" that occasionally
catches out even the most organised of promoters, Sweetedge took
the stage for the "headline" spot.
There was a general movement in the venue as people edged closer to
the stage area in anticipation. They were not to be disappointed.
Sweetedge punched in with their first number 'Something To Say', a
solid, rocky (but not to excess) number, with a tight rhythm from
Della's acoustic guitar, supported by concentrated drumming from
James. In the second number, Paul's approach to bass playing came
to the fore, this is one of the biggest and most important changes
to the band sound in my opinion, a bass player capable of carrying
the melody line is worth their weight in gold, and that is exactly
what Paul does, providing a contrast to the acoustic guitar, adding
melodic interest to the overall sound. It would have been to easy
just to add a lead guitarist to the line-up, but this would
detracted / distracted from the main focus of the band, which is of
course Della's vocals and song writing.
The third song in the set, 'Luckier You Get', took a reggae twist,
a good move as it kept the audiences attention, and prevented the
set from be 'a load of acoustic guitar songs', a pitfall that
Sweetedge continued to avoid for the rest of the evening, touching
on various musical themes, some more folky, some more rocky,
revisiting the reggae groove once more before the end. Variation is
important in a simple band line-up like this and Della's well
crafted songs certainly fit the bill. Interesting and innovative
chord progressions, a range of rhythmic approaches, sophisticated
but not overly complex arrangements, and deeply personal lyrics all
provide a vehicle for Della's vocal skills. Della has an impressive
range, from low throaty to high and melodic, and she put her voice
to good use throughout the evening.
The band received a warm response from the audience, both friends
and strangers alike, it was very enjoyable gig, a confirmation of
Review from The News 9th February 2007 written by Arnold Layne.
Havant Arts Centre
Havant Art Centre’s Female Blues Double Bill last Thursday was a bold piece of billing that saw two very different performers put on a night to remember.
The sold out audience was treated to two fabulous performances.
Della Perrett’s Sweetedge played a fabulous set full of light and shade. Her three-piece band kept up a subtle but emotive backing throughout on terrific songs like Guilt And Brandy.
Della raised a smile when she said her songs felt as if they were ‘bolted together’. But this tonight, produced a rich vein of surprises as she by turns played some songs solo and on others invited special guests to the stage.
The highlight was a fabulous take on Can’t Touch You, with Nick Evans playing some stunning steel pedal guitar. A rousing finale featured three former members of Pompey’s reggae kings Rhythm Collision playing out Della’s set in high spirits.
Sally Strawberry and the Bad Apples came on and delivered their foot-stomping take on the blues and sent everyone home with smiles on their faces.
Here's a reveiw of the Eucalyptus Sun album from Vanity Project issue 17.
Eucalyptus Sun (Self Released)
Excellently produced folksy effort from Portsmouth trio Sweetedge that easily lives up to their impressive live performance. Eucalyptus Sun is an album oozing confident song writing, deliciously sweet melodies and creative musical flourishes such as the sexy sax that weaves a seductive dance through the title track that even the most unresponsive person would find hard to resist at least tapping a foot to. The delicately plucked strings and vibrant rhythms work as a perfect counterfoil to some dark lyrics by main lady Della Perrett who possesses a strong and distinctive vocal style that is used as an extra instrument to add light and shade to her fascinating stories. An album that takes you on a journey and engages rather than washes by as background noise, mainly in part to the strong songs and impressive musicianship and while it may not be standard Vanity Project fare it’s coming across tasty little oddities like this that keeps it fascinating wading through the cds. Float on over to www.sweetedge.com
And here's an excerpt from Kate Price's review from the Fly Wessex website - click here to see the whole thing.
Somewhere between Kate Bush,
Joanna Newsome and Ella Fitzgerald lies the voice of Sweetedge singer
Della Perrett. Bewitching, expressive, captivating – her voice has a
gritty honey texture that soothes and scratches at the same time.
Sometimes it paints images straight out of Macbeth, other times it
makes you feel more like a character from Blues Brothers.
Friday 7th October 2005 - Messclean at the Frog on the Front, Portsmouth. Review from the Vanity Project Extra website written by Grebo.
Sweetedge are back
for a second visit and once again leave me stunned at the quality of
the tunes on offer tonight. A fantastically gifted trio, Sweetedge are
the sort of band that would be found more often in a roots club or at
some arts festival in the middle of a field on a sunny day; each are
great musicians and the class really shows through as they wander
effortlessly amid a range of styles and drop subtle influences into the
music without making it obvious. Tonight they are brave and tackle a
reggae song and it sounds perfect and natural, in fact the bass has a
dubby feel in much of the music but not in an obvious way and it's this
kind of thing that makes the Sweetedge sound so pleasing. I think it's
fair to say that the strength of the band is in the songwriting, I'd
have no problem putting them in the singer/songwriter genre such is
their strength in creating interesting arrangements. And of course you
have the enigma that is Della belting out her distinctive vocals in
that original way and looking confident while interacting with the
audience; Sweetedge are perhaps not what you'd expect to see at a night
like Messclean and it's a tribute to both the band and promoter that
they are prepared to try something a little different, it may leave
some punters a little perplexed but those with an open mind had a great
time and big smiles could be seen by those enjoying something just a
little bit different.
Friday 22nd July 2005 - Messclean at the Frog on the Front, Portsmouth. Review from The News 29th July 2005 written by Steve Gray.
Sweetedge bring an air of
to Messclean, well-crafted songs with tight, almost dub-like bass
delicious sweet melodies. It's dark yet soulfully uplifting and
beautifully with the haunting original voice of Della.
You can see the full version at the Vanity Project Extra website.
Sunday 6th February 2005 - Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth with Autons, Thirst, Red Letter Day, Bonemachine and a whole host of other bands. All proceeds going to the Disasters Emergency Committee's Tsunami appeal.
Honestly EVERYONE was amazing. In a way
awesome singing earlier made those of us there go "Christ, we have to
the night on from THERE!" She was fantastic - every Portsmouth band who
ever gets a Wedge support slot THAT is how to get noticed. (Anthony
Thursday 17th March 2005 - Milton Arms, Milton, Portsmouth as part of Roger Courtney's Music Club.
Sweetedge our special guest kicked the evening off in style in front of a very acceptable turnout for 8.15pm on a Thurday. Their songs are varied in tempo and style and the band portray the tightness and professionalism that you would expect from accomplished musicians who have been around for years. Della has a voice that you are not going to forget in a hurry and at times reminded me of a young Janice Joplin. Also a special mention to the guest keyboard player, Noel, if I remember correctly, a fantastic performance adding a whole new dimension to an already complete sound. All in all a great start to the evening from a band that are always welcome to return to Roger Courtney's anytime they wish!
The Open Mike session kicked off at 9.15pm with Della and her guest keyboard player performing a dynamic version of "Summertime" that set the mood for a great nights entertainment with a healthy audience of way over 100 spilling over into both rooms.
(Nick Courtney's review of the gig)