Suckers – Wild Smile

Rating: ★★★★½

For over a year, people (including us) have been salivating at the thought of having a full-length album from Suckers.  Finally, the time for Wild Smile is upon us, and it will go down as one of the top records of the year, fulfilling on all the promises and praise.  There’s no way around it; this record is fantastic.

“Save Your Love for Me” opens the album slowly, almost dragging out the melodies while the band introduces you to their gang-vocal approach that will woo you throughout the duration. Around the 3+ minute mark, the band bursts into a little bit of a yelp and high pitched squeal, offering up another dynamic to listeners.  Then it fades softly away, bringing you into “Black Sheep.”  As soon as the hi-hat is kicking, and those guitar chords cut in, your bobbing your head, tapping your feet, ready to memorize the words so you can sing along.  When Quinn Walker goes off, you get a sense of the wildness that goes along with their tunes, and their live shows.

Suckers aren’t just a group intent on blasting you away with in-your-face melodies; they can offer restraint at times.  You’ll find “You Can Keep Me Running Around” builds the groove in a rather slow manner, and still the dynamic of the band’s vocal approaches keeps your focus on the enjoyment at hand.  Similarly, “King of Snakes” has a sharp guitar line that slowly walks itself through the song, while various layers slowly build themselves into the song.  Careful listeners of Wild Smile will appreciate the variance in the song sequence, as the moments that let up slightly, allowing you room to breathe, certainly serve their purpose, all the while offering great music for your ears.

Although the entire album is superb, there will always be a standout track or two that simply rise above the rest.  “A Mind I Knew” is one of those songs, building slowly from the start until the rest of the song starts to catch up with the vocals.  It sort of stays there for a minute or so, but the band is intent on providing the maximum listening experience, as the gang-vocals rise in the middle creating an enjoyable sense of cacophony that grooves and bangs all the way to the end.  Personally, the one-two punch of “It Gets Your Body Movin'” and “Martha” are my favorite recorded moments of music to come out this year.  Part of me attaches that with the incredible live performance of the former I’ve witnessed on several occasions, and the fact that the recorded version aligns itself with my memories make it a wonderful piece of pop.  “Martha” is nothing short of exuberant fancy.  If you can refrain from bobbing your head and tapping those toes here, then you’ve won some sort of promise.  This track attaches to every happy muscle in your body, encouraging you to use them all at once.

One could go on and on about how amazing Wild Smile is as a complete album, but then again, those are just the words of an obsessed scribe.  Suckers have constructed album that you must absorb on your own, create your own reactions and be carried away by its power.  Rarely do we get to experience records like this that push boundaries and encourage exploration that will differ from person to person, but rest assured, all reactions will be positive, as these songs ask for nothing if not positivity.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/05-A-Mind-I-Knew.mp3]

Download: Suckers – A Mind I Knew [MP3]

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