REVIEW: Sudden Suspension – ‘There’s A Bigger Picture Here’

Artist: Sudden Suspension
Album: There’s A Bigger Picture Here
Label: Bad Timing Records

This is the sound of growing up.

For their third EP, Indiana natives Sudden Suspension have tasked themselves with encapsulating what it feels like to grow up in 2015, along with all the challenges one encounters along the way. From getting over heartache, to learning to love yourself, there is something here for everyone who has found themselves making the often painful transition from child to adult, and it’s all conveyed through infectious pop punk too good to resist.

If the world can thank Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell for anything it’s that his work with The Wonder Years has inspired an entire generation of young songwriters to be more open, direct, and honest with their lyricism. This was clear in the change current genre leaders Real Friends made between their first two releases, and it’s present once again on the latest recording from Sudden Suspension. Vocalist Brandon Stasi has never shied away from sharing his feelings with listeners, but here he finds a way to convey them in a way far catchier and more creative than on any previous recording. It’s a further refined take on the sound the band has boasted since day one, and it has never sounded as promising as it does on this release.

As Good As It Gets” is probably the catchiest track on the record, so it’s easy to understand why the band used it to promote this release. It’s the kind of song you could imagine hearing on Warped Tour or in the basement of the next illegal house show you attend, with talk of broken hearts and the feeling of knowing just how many miles separate you from the ones you love. I would go as far as to say it’s the best song the band has written, but that title is actually shared by two other tracks on the EP — “We’ll Always Have Each Other,” which shares a message of self-love as only a semi-ballad can offer, and the impressive “Cheap Seats,” a track that hints at where the band may be headed in the future. They’re both insanely catchy songs that make incredible use of metaphor and melody without dumbing down the material for the sake of repetition.

With any attempt at crossing the threshold into adulthood there are bound to be growing pains, but thankfully There’s A Bigger Picture Here doesn’t make listeners suffer all that much. Aside from the completely disposable track “Eventually,” the album is light on misfires, and even that song isn’t altogether terrible. It’s just that, when compared to the rest of Stasi’s writing, the material on “Eventually” falls far short of the intelligent heights reached by the rest of the record. The music ultimately saves the track from reaching your recycling bin, but I imagine many people will be skipping this one, as well as the essentially forgettable opener (“Where I Left Off”) after the first few spins.

I was afraid Sudden Suspension would never write a song as immediately catchy or memorable as “Past Tense,” but There’s A Bigger Picture Here makes the case that Sudden Suspension are only just getting started. Their sound is bigger, tighter, and more infectious than ever before. There is still room for improvement, but right now there are few underground acts with the amount of potential possessed by the members of Sudden Suspension. As long as they stay focused and continue to refine their already critically acclaimed sound, I have no doubt they will soon be the new kings of pop punk.

SCORE: 7.5/10
Review written by James Shotwell

James Shotwell
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