Candy Salad is the sophomore effort from one of my favorite acts, Suckers. My first few weeks with the record were tumultuous; I just couldn’t wrap my ears around the slightly polished and less erratic tunes. But, I’m dedicated to these dudes, and that sort of dedication definitely paid off in the long run. This record might not be as effortlessly brilliant as Wild Smile, but get to know the album and you’ll find it might even win you over more.
When “Nowhere” starts off, the first thing that really stuck out to me was the absence of Brian Aiken on drums; this track doesn’t have too much of a defined percussive element to it (nor oddball intensity). That being said, the way the rise of the vocals when we’re “going nowhere” warrant some accolades; it’s a perfect pop moment. Those heightened sort of bursts continue with the stomping “Figure It Out,” but while I enjoy the sonic construction, it seems a bit rudimentary for Suckers. That’s the issue some might make with this record, but you’ve got to seek out some brilliance that hides within.
For instance, I thought “Bricks to the Bones” was just another of those such tracks, that’s until I got to the third minute of the track. You’ll get soaring vocals, and the ecstatic pop you’ve come to expect from these dudes. It leads perfectly into the standout jam, “Chinese Braille.” After a few moments of pulsing you get the Suckers trademark whistling; I think they’re the best at incorporating a good whistle into a jam. For me, this song definitely embodies more of the spirit that I would have expected on Candy Salad; it’s a little bit quirky, still holding onto a certain brightness. Admittedly, I needed more of this sort to completely fall in love.
Much like this first half of the record, there are elements of joyousness for every music fan at the center of these songs, but I guess in the end they lack a little bit of the frivolity that was present on Wild Smile. “Charmaine” is one of the few tracks that truly seems to capture the live essence of the group, and that’s one of the things (for us at ATH) that made their first effort so addicting. With this group and their more than memorable live shows you need to capture that spirit in a recording, but these songs seem a touch subdued. Take another great track from the record like “Turn On the Sunshine,” a joyous song in every sense, but you all know it could be far more killer if Quinn just exploded into the microphone; he’s done it exceptionally well in the past. Still, you can count this as an otherwise pretty solid track on Candy Salad.
Looking back on the roughly 45 minutes of Candy Salad, you can see that there’s shining moments of exuberant pop, the sort you’ve come to expect from these guys. But, such moments are hiding in places and absent in others, which leaves you wanting a whole lot more from the group on their second effort. If you’re a fan of Suckers, you know the band is capable of great things, it’s just that this round they didn’t quite get there, giving us a good effort, but not the great one we expected.
Download:Suckers – Chinese Braille [MP3]