Nathan and I were just discussing the other day when it was that we really got into Brooklyn based experimental pop group Suckers. We think it was way back in 2009 when we sent out an email interview to the band for ACL fest and then left very impressed with an amazing live show from the upstart band. From that point, Suckers has landed on year end lists for music, appeared on award’s lists for performances during SXSW, and eventually played our SXSW show this year. All this culminated in a love affair with the band that has turned into a major bro-mance. All that being said, we of course had to ask these guys to take part in our lost in Austin takeaways while they were in town at Red 7 last Friday. The resulting video is a beautiful take on their new song “Chinese Brail” from the just released Candy Salad. Follow the jump for video and more info.
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.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/04-Chinese-Braille.mp3]
Download:Suckers – Chinese Braille [MP3]
You know we’re supporters of Suckers, so we’re happy to offer up a nice stream of the band’s second single from their upcoming record, Candy Salad. Said record, the group’s second, will be out on April 24th on Frenchkiss Records, and you can expect a little bit of a different sound this time. The group seems a lot more focused in the recording of this effort, offering up a tightened sound this go around. It does lose a little bit of the magic from their debut, yet you’ll definitely find plenty to fall for on this effort, such as the band’s favorite accompaniment–a nice heartfelt whistle.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/04-Chinese-Braille.mp3]
Oh snap! New Suckers! Man, we absolutely love this band; we’ve probably seen them a combined 25-30 times, and we’ll get another chance when they grace us with their presence at our SXSW Party. But, more importantly, the band has a new record coming out on Frenchkiss Records on April 24th titled Candy Salad. This first listen is a solid track, just as we expected, but it indicates a whole lot of focus from the band, seemingly reigning in some of their spontaneity. Feel sure that the band’s got more great songs up their sleeve, and as an early indicator, this one definitely makes me happy![audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/08_Turn_On_The_Sunshine.mp3]
Download: Suckers – Turn on the Sunshine [MP3]