There's A Bigger Picture HereBad Timing Records
By Dustin Blumhagen
There is no denying that pop punk has been enjoying a resurgence in the past few years. The genre has expanded to include a much wider range of styles than the Screeching Weasel and Ramones sound that gave birth to the label. The current wave of pop punk bands have combined influences as diverse as shoegaze, 90s grunge and power pop. Some bands sing about pizza and teenage romance. Others focus on existential crises as the singer’s 30s rapidly approach. It is an extremely broad definition, which includes bands like Sudden Suspension and Teenage Bottlerocket, who share very little in common beyond an appreciation of catchy lyrics and punk-related music.
The seven songs on this release lean toward the style that has been made prominent by bands like Real Friends and The Wonder Years. While the lyrics are well written, there is a noticeable lack of maturity. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as they are more universally relatable. Nothing confuses me more than seeing 13 year old kids passionately singing along to Aaron West & the Roaring Twenties, when they couldn’t possibly relate to the empty existentialism of aging into your 30s and the heavy weight of divorce. But most people have experienced broken hearts and failed relationships in their life, which is where this album focuses.
The vocals have a slight whine, which suits the emotional lyrics. On As Good As It Gets they put forth a message for the To Write Love on Her Arms generation, singing I guess this is as good as it gets for now / My friends keep telling me to just wait it out. That is where this music excels; it contains both melancholy and hope, balancing two emotions that reoccur throughout life. They provide the requisite acoustic track on We’ll Always Have Each Other, which is a pretty song that slows things down for a moment.
This is a short EP that blows by in about 15 minutes. Luckily, it warrants repeated listens. For a relatively new band, Sudden Suspension manage to stand out in a flooded scene by recording solid modern pop punk with emotional lyrics. Rarely does a new band stand so strong among their established peers, but this release proves that this trio deserves a closer listen. With their increasing growth displayed on each release, it will be interesting to hear their eagerly anticipated full length. As life alters their perspectives and guides them toward maturation, there is a good chance that these guys will solidify their sound and rise to the top of their scene.