Reviewed by Eugenia Vela.
I’ve now listened to Suckers’ Wild Smile (Frenchkiss) so many times, I think the 11 songs have merged into one. You know how every once in a while (or maybe it’s just me, ‘cause I’m a freak) you go through your hard drive and delete anything you no longer feel relevant? Or when you clean out your closet and get rid of all those “what were you thinking?” pieces, finally reaching what you think is the core of personal style-awesomeness? This is what Wild Smile is for me: a collection of songs that are so well-picked, the four Suckers Brooklynites created an album that is meant to be listened to from the first song to the last. No skipping, no irrelevance, no deleting from your hard drive in a couple of years.
Wild Smile is a little bit Walkmen, a little bit New Wave, just enough indie with pop that is beautiful instead of plastic. They open with the six-minute “Save Your Love For Me,” a quasi-ballad so smart and heartbreaking, perfectly fitting for the prom scene in Napoleon Dynamite—I can just picture it (and this is a good thing, believe it or not). After this first song, I started to believe the whole album would be the same, and it’s not, but I’m not complaining. There’s enough range between songs, with similar style, but they’re always refreshing and, again, smart.
The surprising falsettos and wailing are charming instead of annoying (face it, indie falsettos are usually painfully unnecessary), and each song powerfully grows in slow escalation, such as in “Black Sheep” and “A Mind I Knew.” Personal favorites include “You Can Keep Me Runnin’ Around” and “Martha,” two songs that are understandably Vampire Weekend-ish, but they’re so charming that with each listen, there’s a guaranteed smile plastered on your face. Seriously, am I the only one thinking right now that using a woman’s name as a song title is enough to make musical excellence? It’s just too coincidental.
The grace of Wild Smile is that its pieces are not disconnected—each lyric and song order and bassline is there in a particular way intentionally, creating a fantastic dramatic flow of melodies that, to put simply, fit. And to the very last “you are a child/ I am a child…you are a scapegoat/I am a scapegoat” of “2 Eyes 2 C” and the eruption of applause as the finale of Wild Smile in “Loose Change,” you’ll be amazed at the wonder of music—because it is a wonder that there still is something beautiful, different and creative to be found. Oh, and to those people who still buy CDs, they’ll be happy to see not only is Suckers great, but they also have a thing for hideously enticing cover art. Ick. Mandrills are disgusting.
Red River rating: 8.0 out of 10