Reviewed by: Alex McCullough
The Suffers are a 10-piece soul band from Texas that channels the big, powerful sound of 1970s horn-based R&B. The group is led by powerful female vocals performed by Kam Franklin (no relation to Aretha, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was). Their self-titled album is their mainstream debut, and they’re already making waves in the scene with performances on Letterman and Tiny Desk. They have a big, natural sound that’s accentuated by the production, which is reminiscent of Phil Spector’s “wall of sound”. The record manages to sound like the whole band is playing right in front of you. The album starts with the lead single “Make Some Room” which is catchy enough, but didn’t really pull me in right away. The lyrics have a main theme of an outdated idea of a woman’s role in a relationship which kind of make me cringe a little bit at a couple moments. However, this track is immediately followed up with “Dutch” and “Midtown” which are probably the two best songs on the record. “Dutch” has a ridiculously catchy and groovy horn lead accompanied by some super soulful lyrics. The same can be said about “Midtown”, but it’s a little more melancholy in a nice, jazzy way. The album continues with a few less than stellar tracks, but there’s still a lot of talent, grooviness, and soul to be found in the last half. The Suffers haven’t exactly hit it out of the park with this album, but they’re definitely a talented group of musicians that know how to make some funky material. There are a few really catchy songs on this record, but unfortunately, they’re counterbalanced by some pretty boring ones. The Suffers are worth checking out if you’re into the big R&B and soul sound of the 70s; they definitely do it a fair amount of justice.
FCC Violations: Clean
RIYL: Tower of Power, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye
Favorite Tracks: 2, 3, 10