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31

FRIDAY

No matter how loud and lavish he intends his music to be—and the splendid new In Reverse is certainly Spectoresque in surround-sound magnitude—Matthew Sweet, because of his so-lonely lyrics and vocals, will forever be seen as a lovesick punk with a secret stash of Beatles and Beach Boys vinyl never far out of reach. His latest effort is a sonic orgy of all his favorite throwback pet sounds—backward guitars, regal horns, angelic ELO harmonies—that makes 1991’s remarkable Girlfriend sound downright stripped. But Sweet’s voice has never sounded sadder, and despite the rainbows of pop confection he grows over each and every track, the man in the middle of this aural wonderland still seems ill-at-ease with where he’s going and where he’s been. Nevertheless, the schizoid blend is pretty damn beautiful. Soothe Sweet’s troubled psyche when the singer-songwriter-guitar hero performs with the Tender Idols at 9 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $20. (202) 393-0930. (Sean Daly)