Suckers | Wild Smile

Frenchkiss (2010)
By CARRIE BATTAN  |  June 16, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars


Dissenting from the almighty forces of fuzz-pop and the subgenres that have defined its counterparts for the past year or so, the Brooklyn-based Suckers' debut full-length — which follows the buzz cloud emerging from last year's homonymous EP — is both frustratingly and pleasantly difficult to place in today's indie-rock landscape.

Having repeatedly explained that they don't want their songs to resemble even one another, let alone those of any other artist, the quartet have met their objective. Wild Smile calls on the earnest power-balladry of classic alt-rock: oscillating between falsettos and chants designed for sing-alongs, frontman Quinn Walker waxes about empty liquor handles and emotionally destructive young love over meaty, multi-instrumental crescendos.

But as cleanly recognizable as the musical mores are, they come hand-in-hand with a hodge-podge of avant-garde. Walker's operatic howling is backlit by late-'80s-era synths, horns, hints of dark psychedelia, and layer after layer of inscrutable percussion. Disorienting at first spin, Wild Smile rewards by reconciling the easily digestible and the weird with each subsequent listen.

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