Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Suspect Parts - Self Titled

After a decade as a band, the international supergroup Suspect Parts finally has a full-length album to its credit.  And it's an absolute must-buy if you're a fan of powerpop/punk! The band is Justin Maurer (Clorox Girls, Maniac) and James Sullivan (Ripchord) on guitar and vocals, Chris Brief on drums, and Andru Bourbon (Radio Dead Ones) on bass. With Maurer's name on this project, you would not be wrong to expect music influenced by the poppier side of first wave punk rock with a particular emphasis on southern California. But this band is a true collaborative effort that highlights the talents and influences of all of its members. Musically and lyrically, Maurer and Sullivan both bring phenomenal songs to the table. And all in all, Suspect Parts really set themselves apart from most of the bands playing this kind of music today.

Suspect Parts describe their music as "a cotton candy meets razorblade concoction that goes down surprisingly smooth". If you're thinking that sounds like something I'd be totally into, I'd say you're very correct! But while Suspect Parts completely hit the sweet spot for powerpop/punk, they bring something really unique to the style. They're far more '60s-inspired than just about any band you'd think to compare them to, and they manage to take all of their influences and bring them into the now. Out on Taken By Surprise Records in Germany and Oops Baby Records in the U.S., the band's self-titled debut LP is without question one of this year's finest. The album sets a tone with a terrific 1-2-3 punch of textbook powerpop/punk ("Madmen With Guns",  "Electrify Me Honey", "Live Over There"). But just when you think you know exactly what this record is going to be, it starts to take wonderfully surprising turns. "Alright With Me" and "Run For Your Life" dial back the punk influence and prove that Suspect Parts can craft finessed pop songs as well as anyone. The latter just might be the high point of the album - a song that manages to feel epic even with a running time under three minutes. "Change Your Mind" is a perfectly executed stab at a punked-up Beatles, while "Out of Place" delivers the heart-racing jolt you'd hope to get from a band with a Briefs and Clorox Girls pedigree. And "No One From Nowhere" has a neat new wave vibe and features some of the most honest and powerful lyrics I've heard in quite some time.

Two Americans, a Brit, and a German walked into a recording studio on a sub-freezing January day in east Berlin: sounds like the start of a joke, right? But actually it was the start of something special. I would imagine it's difficult for a band to get together when its members are separated by oceans. But I'm glad these gentlemen went to the trouble to get an album made. This release may have been a long time in the making, but it sure delivers the goods! Is this punk rock for people who love pop, or is it pop for people who love punk rock? I'm not quite sure! Those of you in Europe should be sure to catch the band on tour beginning tomorrow!


1 comment:

johnnybgoode said...

this is a great find! thanks for turning me on