Suckers show promise but lack focus on Wild Smile

The much-anticipated debut full-length from Suckers is finally here, and man, I don’t know what I was expecting of the album after hearing a bit of their previous work. But that was my problem: I shouldn’t have been considering expectations – Wild Smile is all over the place, sticking to no one genre; no one consistent sound. Except for “experimental”. The album runs the gamut from psychedelia to post-rock to noise-pop and nearly everything in between.

The same trend occurs within songs as well. Suckers uses yelp-y voices on a scale of extremes, from a low rasp to a high warble. While so much is going on in the background, the unique vocals stand out, which isn’t a great thing. If they weren’t ever-changing I might be able to root myself in the sound more and allow the atmosphere to take me in. A good example of this is present on “Before Your Birthday Ends”, which usually finds us listening to the falsetto, whiny tone, instead of the nice burst of horns and electronic psychedelia in the background. When the tone is lowered and higher harmonies work as soft complements, the sound vastly improves. “A Mind I Knew”, one of the strongest songs on the album, employs this technique well, as we can actually focus in on the melodic background and the sonic intricacies. I am a fan, however, of most of the instrumental noise, which keeps me listening. The whistling on “Roman Candles” is particularly nice.

Ultimately, the sound suits the album title well. The Connecticut foursome have fun with their music, that much is for sure, and they’re not afraid to mix it up wherever, whenever. Dark and brooding at times, light and airy at others, Wild Smile is of a different breed than usual. While I think they can harness their sound a bit, I’m happy with Suckers’ first big effort, and I laud them for making so many varied sounds mostly enjoyable. They have plenty of time to mature and the promise they show on Wild Smile leads me to believe they’ve got a bright future ahead of them.

Suckers – “A Mind I Knew” [MP3]

Suckers – “You Can Keep Me Runnin’ Around” [MP3]

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