Sucka Brown plays a style of dance-punk that recalls the supersonic vocals of many emo bands while the music contained on “Extra Medium” really drives near to both dancemo bands like Head Automatic and indie-cred dance like Fischerspooner and The Postal Service. The incorporation of reggae influence on tracks like “Public Transportation” seems to be a little out of context; while it bookends the dance elements, it becomes prevalent on different tracks throughout “Extra Medium’s” runtime. The same 311 style of laid-back reggae seems to lack a certain drive to it; “Cognizant Paranoi” really is trying to find anything to hold onto until the band stumbles upon a Switchfoot (Learning To Breathe) type of guitar riff.
The lead vocals that come through seem not just cultured by 311, but rather contain some of the supersonic sweetness of a younger Geddy Lee. The only discernible problem during tracks like “Cognizant Paranoi” seems to be this minor delay where the band needs to figure out in which of the myriad of directions it wishes to go .The thick bassline of “Flatout” has not been matched in sheer soul since the backing bass of early Michael Jackson; the slow-tempo, warmed-over vocals of the act finally gain a catchiness after the bass line takes off and achieved a differing, hooky nature. “Wait” is the unholy bastard child of Snow and O.A.R.; it is not inaccurate to say that the track is the aural equivalent of “Informer” and “Revolution”, coupled with the pseudo-rap that is present in acts like Slightly Stoopid and Sublime. There seems to be a delineation made on “Extra Medium” that pits the distinctive instrumentation with a set of vocals that are incredibly common; the beats will provide a very danceable beat while the vocals seem to be more of a placeholder than anything.
Sure, there are times when the vocals achieve an Incubus-like luster, but many of the slower tracks really show the vocals spinning their wheels. The mixture of simple and complex is made extremely well during a later track (“Fall Classic”) where the bass line works on the highest level and the ska/reggae sound of the guitar ties in many extra listener. To give the track a full feeling, the incorporation of vocals is made. However, the guitar/bass dynamic is more than worthy enough to stand on its own. Fun music, but not necessarily challenging at all points on the disc.
Top Tracks: Fall Classic, Cognizant Paranoi
Sucka Brown Extra Medium CD Review Sucka Brown – Extra Medium / Self / 8 Tracks / http://www.suckabrown.com /