Sweet Sweet Lies
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Sweet Sweet Lies

Brighton, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

Brighton, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Alternative Country




"Five stars - Independent On Sunday album review"

Vengeance is an art form, and Sweet Sweet Lies - a bittersweet Brightonian sextet who specialise in folk-pop noir- are masters of it. That much, on songs such as "Capital Of Iceland", is obvious. But dual frontmen Dominic Von Trapp and Michael Hayes also have a mile-wide romantic streak. This is a band for fans of Leonard Cohen, Scott Walker and Nick Cave who wondered where their next great love was coming from. In "The Hare, the Hound & the Tortoise", it's already here.
Simon Price - Independent On Sunday

"Four stars, Uncut album review"

Subversive debut from Brighton's premier evil wedding band. Anglo-Scottish sextet Sweet Seet Lies dress nasty themes in sweet acoustic melodies and sharp suits. Twin lead singers/guitarists Dominic Von Trapp and Michael Hayes take inspiration from folk and pre-rock pop, but their debut album's heart lies in caustic lyrics that excavate self-lacerating truths about men in love. Early Costello, Neil Hammond and Nick Cave bond over revenge and guilt on the likes of "Overrated Girlfriend" and "Breathless" and for "No-One Will Love You (Like I Do)", Von Trapps' alternately charming and sneering tenor leads a stunning ballad that could have entire stadiums weeping in waltz-time
Garry Mulholland - Uncut - March 2012

"Five stars - Independent On Sunday, Simon Price"

It's always the anti-romantics who are the truest romantics of all. In order to be disappointed by something, one needs to have been a believer in the first place. Anyone who's listened to ABC's The Lexicon Of Love will know that already.

Enter, in a cloud of smoke and violet light, Sweet Sweet Lies. Seldom has the greeting "Merry Christmas" been so heavily laden with irony. Decked out in Six Feet Under chic – sombre suits, white shirts, black ties – this dissolutely suave Sussex sextet come dressed for business, that business being what W B Yeats termed "the foul rag and bone shop of the heart". As the name suggests, Sweet Sweet Lies' defining topic is the tangled web of human deceit. As the name doesn't suggest, they deal in bitter, bitter truths.

Led by handsome devil Dominic Von Trapp, with Rickenbacker-twanger Michael Hayes taking lead vocal on a third of the set (pointing at a Go-Betweens, Forster/McLennan dynamic), SSL play punch-in-the-guts folk-pop with hints of spaghetti surf, whisky-flavoured waltz, campfire singalong and New Orleans funeral jazz, all delivered with last-chance-before-we-die intensity.

Their debut album, due in January on Something/Nothing, contains some of the sharpest and wittiest writing I've encountered in years, and ought to have everyone burning their Mumford & Sons CDs in embarrassed contrition. In such songs as the ferociously vengeful "Capital Of Iceland" and the mordantly self-loathing "The Day I Change", I hear echoes of Cave, Cocker and Cohen, Merritt, Momus and Morrissey.

Von Trapp is one of those guys, and Sweet Sweet Lies are one of those bands: damaged and disappointed, but still resolutely romantic. And I can buy that, all day long.
- Independent On Sunday

"Capital Of Iceland review"

“I can't accuse Sweet Sweet Lies of being quite, dull or banal - instead quite the opposite on the short-and-sweet theatrical-roots/rock sample that is, "Capital Of Iceland". Smartly-dressed Brightonians and echoes of Gogol Bordello or Mano Negra, the band sound like they mean business with this debut single” 3/5 - All Gigs

"Capital Of Iceland review"

“The song will take you on a journey of many of feelings and emotions, some will feel the anger behind the vocals, others will happily sing along in pure delight, the song itself gives off an array of reactions. This is largely down to the combination of witty and truthful lyrics jammed in with some fast playing 'folky' riffs that will get people jumping.” 3/5 - Glasswerk

"Capital Of Iceland review"

“Ironic, moody and at times angry this cheeky song has influences of folk, country and rock with an infectious chorus- due to the easy melody and backing fiddles but what keeps the listener fascinated are the funny and daring lyrics to this charming song” - AAA Music

"Capital Of Iceland review"

“Gypsy punk sentiments mix with prowling bass-lines and violins that soar like an alpine stream, as Sweet Sweet Lies tell us the story of a man looking to replace his current tryst. Superb” 3/5 - Artrocker


"Capital Of Iceland", single, released on Something Nothing Records SNR009/SDD - 1st August 2011
"No-One Will Love You (Like I Do), single, released on Something Nothing Records SNR011/SDD - 31st Oct 2011



Biography by Garry Mulholland

Sweet Sweet Lies: an immediate contradiction. But we’ve all been guilty of falling for flattering falsehoods, because we just can’t help loving a silver-tongued rogue. So when a band emerges that exist to excavate the cracks between truth and delusion, and wryly observe how often flawed humanity fails to tell the difference, especially when it comes to love, and chooses to do so by pulling together various unlikely opposites – then they probably ought to be called something entirely fitting, like Sweet Sweet Lies. And they definitely ought to be led by handsome and well-groomed gentlemen who write songs that could charm the birds off the trees… until a specifically cruel and biliously bitter line grabs said unsuspecting bird and wrings its neck. Metaphorically, of course. No animals have been harmed in the making of this band.

Sweet Sweet Lies are singers, songwriters and guitarists Dominic VonTrapp and Michael Hayes, ably assisted by Ken Box (piano), Deano Harrington (bass), Dan Brown (drums) and Kris Jones (trumpet). It all began in Brighton in 2007, when Dominic and Michael found themselves as the only non-teenage students in the songwriting module of a music degree at Sussex University. ‘We naturally gravitated toward each other because we were the only two people who knew Dangermouse as a cartoon character rather than the producer of Gnarls Barkley.’ Dominic recalls, wryly.
Dominic is the more intense, animated and altogether English half of the SSL front-line, while Michael is the more languid Scottish counterpoint. The pair bonded over their shared love of The Beatles, Dylan, Leonard Cohen and The Magnetic Fields. ‘I asked him to come round to my flat and play the accordion,’ Dominic laughs. ‘And he turned up with a guitar.’

But Dominic got over his disappointment and the resulting jam ended up as the haunting, articulate – and definitively bittersweet – debut single ‘The Day I Change’. Within four weeks the pair had the Sweet Sweet Lies name and enough songs to go out gigging as a duo. Dominic: ‘I had a gig booked in the Sanctuary Café in Hove and didn’t know what to do with it. It gave us a date and some urgency.’

And for the next three months Sweet Sweet Lies were just the two of them. Michael: ‘There are a lot of acoustic nights in Brighton. It was an easy and fast way to start. And gradually we started to acquire members.’

Both had band previous at the opposite ends of our fair nation. Michael’s Brainchild had made some headway in the Glasgow scene before going through the usual frustrating split. ‘I was the least busy I’d ever been and had to do something about it. I’d never lived outside of Scotland so I applied for the course in Brighton.’
Dominic had had similar experiences in London with electro-pop bands Belle Du Jour and Little Black Dresses. ‘We did all these dirty little clubs in London and had a bit of a following– it was brilliant. But it just reached the point where I wanted to do something more organic. I was based in Bedford, which is a wonderful town with wonderful people. But I wanted to get away and try something new.’

But both Dominic and Michael understood, even as they were playing every Brighton open mic night that would have them, that Sweet Sweet Lies was something tangibly better than what they had done before. Michael: ‘There were two or three moments that made me realise that this was something more than a couple of guys playing music together. The first was the first recording that we did. The second was a college gig where we got this incredible, positive response, and people kept coming up to us afterwards and offering their services as keyboard players or whatever…’ Dominic: ‘… And suddenly we’d formed a band without either of us really noticing.’

Festival dates swiftly followed at Glastonbury, The Isle Of Wight Festival, The Secret Garden, Manchester’s In The City, Brighton’s The Great Escape and even The Big Chill as booking agents and promoters were instantly impressed by the Sweet Sweet Lies blend of melodic accessibility and onstage intensity. But what stood out most about SSL was the stark contrast between the harmony-laden acoustic warmth of the music and the blood, guts and bitter truths of the lyrics. Was this a deliberate policy on Dominic and Michael’s parts? ‘It absolutely was’, Dominic confirms. ‘I remember a college lecturer telling me at some point that lyrics should fit the music. A happy song should be upbeat. A sad song should be all minor chords. And I thought about it and decided that that wasn’t how my idols had done it at all. I mean, The Smiths, for example; I love when you’re caught off-guard by music that seems bright and jolly until you catch hold of the words and realise that you shouldn’t be feeling happy about all this. I like songs that trip you up. Like the contrast in Johnny Cash’s songs between the jaunty backings and the dark themes.’

But the darkness that Sweet Sweet Lies re