Bayou City

The Suffers Don't Play It Safe On New Record

The Suffers return with a new album.
The Suffers return with a new album. Photo by Todd Spoth
The Suffers are easily the most successful act to come out of Houston in the past five years, and on their second record Everything Here, they build upon their jam infused sounds by venturing into other genres, including some baby steps into gospel. They open with the Paul Wall featured "Ode To Houston" and follow with the soulful second track "I Think I Love You."

On the third track, "Do Whatever,"  stunning backing vocals help fill in the funky sounds the band creates. There's a reason the track was made a single, as it harkens back to what the group did on their debut while ticking up the heat a bit.

On the fourth track "The One About Sace," the R&B notations really come through where the percussion meets Kam Franklin's vocals to create a soulful track that digs deeper than what the band did on their debut.  The opening of "All I Wanna Do" starts to pull you in with the vocals coming in strong, though the chorus is a bit muddled. It's not bad, it's just not a sound that's easy to take in, as it feels like there's too many words in the verse. The track kind of ends open ended as well, which is odd but not uncommon either.

The sixth song "Sure To Remain" is a soulful burner, where Franklin's vocals shine and take the band closer to traditional R&B than ever before. It's a gamble that pays off and shows a side to the group that you want to hear more of. This occurs again a couple of tracks later on "After The Storm (featuring Lyle Divinsky)" where the vocals are the strongest element, treading closer to gospel music in a way that feels modern and profound. The band gets funky on "What You Said," and stay closer to what they did on their debut.

click to enlarge "Everything Here" might not be what you're expecting while being everything. - ARTWORK COURTESY OF SHANACHIE RECORDS
"Everything Here" might not be what you're expecting while being everything.
Artwork courtesy of Shanachie Records

The song "Mammas" pops and offers up that groove that the band has become known for before the two minute track, "Bernard's Interlude (featuring Bun B)" comes on. While it's nice to see Bun's name on a track, the song doesn't really make sense among the rest of the songs, and the album could do just as well without it as it does with it. The thirteenth song "Everything Here" however, is a true gem. The band picks up notations of reggae and early dub while the dance of the keys and the bass craft a funky jam that's pretty close to wonderful.

Two songs later, the album closes off with the passionate mix of an R&B classic and Gulf coast swagger on "Won't Be Here Tomorrow." The song stands out as a prime example of how strong The Suffers are when they combine all of their elements into one heartfelt number. Franklin's vocals sound so sincere and emotive. There's a lot happening here, so much so it felt like the standout of the release, showcasing the strengths of all of the bands elements into one powerful packed song.

You can pre-order the album here, or stream it on all platforms when it's released on July 13. If you were lucky enough to grab tickets, you can catch The Suffers in person at two sold out appearances on July 12 with The Tontons, or July 13 with Black Pumas, both at The Heights Theater. The Suffers will be making festival appearances throughout the rest of 2018, and into 2019.
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David Garrick is a former contributor to the Houston Press. His articles focus primarily on Houston music and Houston music events.