Black Sheep, Wild Smileʼs first single, wears Modest Mouse on its sleeve: all disco drums, rumbling bass, and jagged guitar, itʼs a latter-day Tiny Cities Made of Ashes. The song even features a homage to/rip-off of Isaac Brockʼs screaming-into-pickups technique. Suckers and Modest Mouse also share the habit of building songs to a grand, singular pronouncement, though while Modest Mouseʼs are usually viciously shouted and existentially bleak, Suckersʼ channel Arcade Fire chest-thumping.
The shaggy, sloppy form of music we used to call indie-rock has given away to bands with austere harmonies and Grizzly Adams beards trying their best to line up probable future dates being backed up by the New York Metropolitan Opera. And that’s fine -- for the Grizzly Bears, the Fleet Foxes and the Bon Ivers of the world. But the kind of indie-rock Modest Mouse and others were making in the late '90s has been buried along with our “ironic” trucker hats.
Hearing "Save Your Love for Me," the opening track from Suckers' debut album, for the first time, one thought in particular will probably strike more than one listener: Hopefully the rest of this album is just as audacious..
Suckers make music with personality. Just over a year ago, the Brooklyn indie rock outfit released its debut EP. It was buoyant and sweet and ended on one very high note: "It Gets Your Body Movin'". The song is an arm-in-armer, a slow-burning summer anthem whose titular chorus demanded you sing along even if you weren't surrounded by friends.
Suckers branch out from the new-wavy-ness of their debut Suckers EP with their first full-length. With less prominent keytar and a firmer grip on Afro-pop, Wild Smile could easily be lumped in with releases by fellow Brooklyn indie rockers Chairlift, Yeasayer, and Vampire Weekend. The retro homage is cast aside, but a degree of camp remains, due to Quinn Walker's choice to sing in a prepubescent falsetto in many of the songs -- perhaps in hopes of shaking David Byrne comparisons.
Before we get to the new Suckers album, let’s run down a quick list of overused adjectives that get thrown around a lot in reviews. You know, words like psychedelic, dreamy, blissed-out, druggy, expansive, lush, and so on. You get the idea. These terms get used, sometimes, because they’re useful keywords that give a quick insight into what you might expect from an artist.