Here and gone inside of five years and leaving only two albums (1993's Star, 1995's King) behind, Belly seems to have vanished well before reaching its potential.
Here and gone inside of five years and leaving only two albums (1993's Star, 1995's King) behind, Belly seems to have vanished well before reaching its potential. And maybe that's why Sweet Ride leaves one to again ponder what was lost when the band imploded during its final tour. That considered, certainly welcome is this album's collection of rarities and previously unissued cuts, which include covers of "Are You Experienced?" and "Hot Burrito #1," a version of "Judas My Heart" sung in French, and a live take on "Dusted." Yet these cuts make Sweet Ride a far cry from a best-of. While the band's key singles—"Feed the Tree," "Gepetto," "Now They'll Sleep"—are included, all these rarities and B-sides take the place of such shining moments from King as the title track and "The Bees," probably the album's best song. It's a shame, because there's little chance anyone will ever bother doing a proper best-of for a band without much selling power. Produced with singer Tanya Donelly's involvement, Sweet Ride is certainly a must-have for the still-devoted, but it's an awfully incomplete and inaccurate portrayal of the band's best work. Still, it's nice that all these rarities have been collected in one place, and that the unissued tracks have been unearthed; and Donelly's track-by-track commentary is a huge plus.—WO