Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You Should Know About Suckers and Wide Smile

I'm surprised it's taken me this long to write about Suckers. They're one of the first NYC bands I started following obsessively and I hardly miss a chance to see them when they are playing out. Today, Frenchkiss Records (which is quickly become my favorite indie label) released Wild Smile, Suckers' highly anticipated full-length debut.

The music Suckers makes is a fun mix of campfire sing-along and soaring glam rock vocals. I think their signature (besides the face paint frontman Quinn Walker tends to wear during performances) has to be the unexpected build of every song into an epic climax. "It Gets Your Body Moving," their best known song (it was previously released on their self-titled EP) starts off sleepy with the guys engaging in disinterested delivery. But the song progresses into a heart-wrenching peak that always takes me completely by surprise. I'll have the song on and inevitably get distracted by something. At about 3:50, my attention snaps back to the speakers as the song becomes an escalating-in-intensity chant that sounds more like 50 people singing as opposed to the 4 guys that Suckers is actually comprised of.

Wide Smile includes songs that will be familiar to people like me who have been fans of the band for a while. My favorite Suckers song has always been "You Can Keep Me Runnin' Around" after seeing this video of them playing it in the Time Out New York offices:

I'd scoured the internet for about a year, and it seemed their was no studio version of the song available so I've been listening to the Daytrotter session while I anxiously waited for Wide Smile to drop. After hearing the studio cut, I realize I wasn't missing much and I actually like the live version better. The fuzz and imperfections give this song, probably Suckers' poppiest, an authentic gritty feel. Contrarily, the LP's smoother production of "Save Your Love For Me" breathes new life into a song that previously seemed (to me) unfinished. "Easy Chairs," a favorite of mine from the EP is missing from Wide Smile, but that's not surprising since I have never heard them play it live. New song "Roman Candles" is a completely worthy substitute. The two songs have extremely similar melodies but "Roman Candles" includes an impossibly catchy whistling motif.

If you are not immediatlely won over by the first half of Wide Smile, do yourself a favor and stick with it through to the end: you'll find the best songs there. "Martha" has made it difficult for me to sit still in my chair all day at work (I'm thinking of proposing an at-work silent disco room for situations like this) and Walker's voice on "2 Eyes 2 C" is desperate and beautiful. Bass players should listen to "Loose Change" immediately for some serious swoonage.

Suckers have been on tour supporting equally awesome label mates Local Natives, but they return home to play a record release show at Music Hall of Williamsburg with Class Actress, Sean Bones, and Cameron Hull. Since I'm kicking myself for missing them with Local Natives at Bowery Ballroom last month, there is no way I won't be there. You should come too!

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