Going its own way works just fine for NYC's Suckers
As teenage rites of passage go, embracing music that pisses off your parents is as much a part of growing up as smoking your first Belmont and puking in the park on liquor-cabinet shit-mix. In this respect, Suckers singer-guitarist Austin Fisher wasn’t all that different from his peers. Give him points for originality, though, because he never went the easy route of becoming a hate-everything punker or blunts-and-bitches-obsessed hip-hop head.
“I got into weird stuff like the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Robert Fripp—things like that—when I was in high school,” Fisher says, on the line from his adopted hometown of Brooklyn. “You know—horrible stuff that annoys your parents in a way that hardcore music can never annoy your parents, not to mention everyone else around you. For me, things like hardcore had a social element to it, where it wasn’t about music as much as belonging to a group. I don’t think that’s what music was for any of us in the band.”
Given that philosophy, it makes sense that Suckers seems more concerned with blazing its own path than aligning itself with any particular musical movement. The trio’s second and latest album, Candy Salad, is an atmosphere-drenched mix of subversive power pop, analogue electronica, and Bic-hoisting arena rock. Get ready to marvel at standouts like “Chinese Braille”, which starts out as an old-fashioned prog epic, swings hard into the chillout tent, and then drags classic alt-country down the middle of Sir Elton John’s fabled yellow-brick road.
The highest compliment one can pay Candy Salad is that, for the most part, it doesn’t sound like anything else coming out of Brooklyn or, really, any other part of the States. That experimental streak has aligned Suckers with fellow New York City renegades such as Yeasayer and MGMT, the connector being that such acts usually don’t end up getting compared to anyone else, including each other.
“I always wanted to move here ever since I was a little kid,” says the Connecticut-born Fisher. “We kind of got here after the Strokes and Interpol era, where they had become really popular. Our goal was to do something different from that kind of music. By playing shows, we started to befriend other bands that were also trying to do something uniquely their own. It was like we were reacting to what was popular before us.”
Going its own way has, of course, worked out pretty great for MGMT, who, funnily enough, opened for Suckers way back in the day. Fisher doesn’t have a lot of complaints either. The singer is also pleased to report that what you hear on the impeccably constructed Candy Salad is what you get when Suckers step on-stage.
“We didn’t really tinker around a lot in the studio,” he reports. “We basically went in and played it live, overdubbing some of the vocals and guitar stuff if we had to have it miked better. On tour, it might be a little more energized and raw-sounding, but other than that, it’s basically the record.”
A record that—sorry, kids—is 96 percent less likely to piss off your parents than Robert Fripp.
Suckers plays the Media Club on Monday (May 14).