The power-pop maestro’s ninth solo studio affair resembles an overstuffed scrapbook more than it does a coherent album. Though Matthew Sweet’s Dagwood-like approach to stacking vocals occasionally still thrills (”You’re Not Sorry”), nothing on Living Things approaches the sublimity of 2003’s previously Japan-only release Kimi Ga Suki * Raifu (which arrives Stateside on Oct. 19). Instead, the songs are obscured by excessive noodling reminiscent of a jam band. Nobody wants to hear steel drums on a Matthew Sweet record. Except maybe Jimmy Buffett.
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