Suckers’ second full length finds the Brooklyn trio smoothing out the wrinkles, crafting a heavy power-pop record that sounds more polished, thanks to producer Matt Boynton (who has previously worked with MGMT). His influence resides in reshaping Suckers, leaning here toward a more conventional sound. The question remains to be answered, though, whether overhauling your sound on the second album is a good idea. Ask MGMT how that went.
Gone are the Modest Mouse-styled guitars and Quinn Walker’s vocals that channeled Issac Brock. It’s a bold move for a band on the cusp of breaking out, especially considering that the highlights from 2010’s Wild Smile fell in this vein, like the sprawling “It Gets your Body Moving”. This is replaced with a new batch of highlights, like the sugar rush of opening track “Nowhere”, which channels Cheap Trick and ends with a soaring guitar solo from Austin Fisher. “Figure it Out”, a sunny anthem about getting your shit together, is propelled by a Ringo Starr-like drum beat and a bouncy chorus that will get lodged in your brain for days.
Fans who were suckered in by the debut will still find a lot to love on Candy Salad, like the hazy, keyboard-led “Bricks to the Bones”, a track that features a plodding groove akin to Wild Beasts. “Home, your lover’s home/From the bricks to the bone/Home, your lover’s home/Your love falls all around me”, Walker sings passionately on the chorus. Ratcheting up the slow-dance charm on “Charmaine” proves to be an album highlight. The track features Walker channeling the throat-shredding primal scream of Pussycats era Harry Nilsson.
Suckers’ knack for catchy hooks is what ultimately carries Candy Salad. Even the less successful numbers are still worth a listen for an interesting bridge, guitar part, or drum sample. They have the gift of melody, and on Candy Salad, they fully embrace it, keeping safely away from the dreaded sophomore slump.
Essential Tracks: “Nowhere”, “Charmaine”, and “Bricks to the Bones”