The ever-busy San Antonio Pop-Punkers are back with their latest EP, Are We Having Fun Yet?
There’s a lot to love on Suckerpunch’s latest release, a followup to their 2010 self-titled debut EP. It’s no surprise that the San Antonio Pop-Punk band is only two years old, but they’ve already got three releases under their belt, including a split EP with Indianapolis’ With Honors.
The opening track, Are We Having Fun Yet? is a typical Pop-Punk introductory anthem. The instrumentation is slickly produced and catchy, calling to mind influences ranging from blink-182, New Found Glory, and Man Overboard. Lyrically, Are We Having Fun Yet? is a tour of familiar Pop-Punk clichés, but aside from a line about "me without you” that could be from any number of songs, there’s nothing too cringe worthy.
Radio opens with an innovative guitar riff that carries a renewed energy throughout the entire track. The guitar work is on full display, chugging along through the verses until nearly two minutes in, when a surprise interlude takes center stage. The interlude gives way to a bridge that builds to the first chorus, which has enough pop sensibility to carry the entire track, but is surprisingly scarce. The guitar solo that fills out the rest of the song’s running time is quality work, but is not enough to protect the song from being all over the place in terms of composition, with none of its various parts earning a reprise.
The apology-filled ballad Hey Hayley showcases a much more traditional structure, which plays to Suckerpunch’s strengths, though the half-hearted breakdown in the track’s closing seconds feels contrived. The guitar tones throughout the track are refreshing and attention-grabbing, and the brief backing vocals that were first showcased in Radio provide one of the song’s strongest segments.
Bark Twice if You’re In Milwaulkee is an interlude track that bridges Hey Hayley to the next track. Say Goodbye is my nomination for the strongest track on the EP, with a standout vocal performance and an overall more natural feeling to the music. The backing vocals are given another chance to shine, this time for more than a single line. All of the instrumentation is on point, and musically the track feels more fleshed out than its counterparts.
Next on the track list is Proving Them Right, which kicks off with an energetic introduction that connects nicely with the song’s more subdued verses. The song is well structured and well performed, but unfortunately borders on forgettable when listened to in the context of the entire EP until its closing minutes. The silver lining does arrive in the films closing bridge and guitar solo, which evokes early Taking Back Sunday and delivers my favorite lyric on the record, “I am not afraid to lose the piece of me I gave to you”.
There’s No Going Back is the closing song on Are We Having Fun Yet?, and at over five minutes, it’s by far the longest. It’s a solid track filled with the same kind of well-written instrumentation found on the rest of the EP, but the song falls victim.
Suckerpunch’s EP showcases a band with talent and potential, but the band would benefit from more direction in the studio. Trimming down a few tracks by cutting out any number of the interludes that worked their way into too many songs would clear up a lot of fluff. Dropping a few of the less memorable songs from the EP would also help craft an all killer, no filler EP that spotlights the best Suckerpunch has to offer.
1. Are We Having Fun Yet?
3. Hey Hayley
4. Bark Twice If You're In Milwaukee
5. Say Goodbye
6. Proving Them Right
7. There's No Going Back
Written by Frank Campisano IV