Chooglin': Sweet Time


Enough has been made of Chooglin's CCR-derived name. The music speaks for itself, and it says "party" all the way from its BBQ-themed packaging to the driving rock of "Take Your Sweet Time," which starts the record with rollicking guitar licks that transmit an urgent message: Get your beer and get back to the dance floor. Having conquered the Entry with February's live Nice Place, Nice Party, Nice Folks, the band returns with their second studio album.

On Sweet Time, they seek to expand their repertoire. Alternating mid- and slow-tempo songs with guitar rockers, they succeed at mixing up their sound without activating the listener's skip-button reflex. Early on, they present a slower song, "Nexium of Interest," which builds and seamlessly transitions into "Airport Bar," a full-on drinking song proclaiming, "You got the party/I got the soul/Time to get ready/Let's go go go." Brian Vanderwerf's ability to shift from an open-throat wail to an earnest lament without disruption is what holds the disc together among what could easily be some jarring tempo shifts.

When they tone things down, the horn section adopts a rhythm role, which adds a peppiness that a simple guitar/bass/drum combo would lack. The band adopts numerous styles, as is apparent on the psychedelia-tinged "Hal's Haberdashery" and the "Johnny B. Goode" rocker "Gone, Gone, Gone." But the band's true identity is found in their energetic, bluesy, and—ahem—horny '70s rock 'n' roll. Chooglin's primary focus is danceable, fun music—the kind in which the word "baby" almost always finds its way into the lyrics.