Larger-than-life vibes, summery anthems, and enough reggae beats to keep your hip uncle dancing like the life-loving goofball that he is. This is how I see “Sucker”, the latest album from Arizona boys Katastro.
This album marks a new direction from the band; a whole new style. Their previous albums were much more rock-based, or at least not as focused on the rap and electronic elements that we see in “Sucker”. Personally, I prefer their older albums. Their new style doesn’t resonate with me, and there are a number of reasons for this, but to put it concisely, it’s just not my cup of tea. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad album, at all. In fact, the more I listened to it, the more I realized it was packed full of hooks and catchy choruses that had the potential to be stuck in people’s heads on the radio for a good amount of time.
To me, this new album doesn’t stand out as an instant classic, but with that being said, I don’t feel that that was the intention of the band for this “Sucker”. This is the group proclaiming their contentment with the place that they’re in. They’re here to say “we’re stoked on life, we’re having a great time, and if you don’t like it, then the quiet corner is over there…” This is almost instantly felt from the beginning with the opening track “The Way I Feel”, with effervescent jabs from the keyboard carrying you into a positive melody sung by Andy Chaves.
The album frequently pulls off some big reggae feelings, though shaped in a few different ways. “100 Rips” is an example of this, almost just floating its way through time in a confidently relaxed kind of way. This track did bring out some great sun-drenched imaginations, like driving a convertible down a street in the sun, letting all the heat sink in. I did chuckle in a bit of disbelief when I went to watch the music video for this track, because that imagination I had is exactly what’s shown in the video. “100 Rips” was definitely the catchiest track for me. The vocal melody to the chorus felt like that was the only way it could have been sung; something about it just felt right.
The reggae feeling definitely doesn’t end there. “One Day” and “John T” both have some big off-beat piano and keyboard hits that really emanate a similar energy.
It’s not all reggae, however. Katastro lean into a couple of different styles throughout “Sucker”. “Hotel Lobby” has some Dominic Fike vibes, whilst the choruses for “Pocket Fulla” and “Way Too High” really brings thoughts of 21 Pilots to the front of the mind. The feeling of being on a beach sipping on a mimosa is pretty hard not to imagine when listening to “Naked”, with a modest little guitar lick bringing us into the track. Speaking of naked, I bet that someone, somewhere, is going to add “Droptop” to their “songs for love makin’” playlist. It’s a groovy track, really laid back in its delivery yet engaging enough to take along with it a contagious energy. It scarcely reminded me of some of the more chilled-out moments on Matt Corby’s “Telluric” release.
The grooviness that “Droptop” provides extends even further as the album progreses. “Too $hort”, despite its quicker pace than the others, ties in well to the rest of the album with its groove-inspired themes. The title track “Sucker” also mellows the listener out a bit, with some gentle vocal melodies wavering across a warm and welcoming soundscape.
As we reach the last song, suitably titled “Last Call”, we’re left with an entertaining, yet oddly confusing taste in the mouth. Despite the fact that a lot of the tracks on “Sucker” are catchy and energetic in their delivery, I found it hard to distinguish some tracks from one another. Some rhythms and melodies are similar, and consequently I was hard pressed to remember exactly which parts came from which songs. I didn’t have to worry about that with regards to “Last Call”, however, as a fun and distinct little guitar solo is provided to us towards the end of the track.
Overall, “Sucker” can be best described as a release from a group that knows pretty well what it wants to do. There’s obviously a sound, a theme, that they’re aiming for, and with tracks like “The Way I Feel” and “100 Rips”, it’s quite easy to see that they’ve found it. Some tracks could have been enhanced in their ability to be catchy and distinguishable, but going back to one of my earlier points, Katastro are focused more on having a good time, and that in itself is more valuable than writing potential top hits. As a result, what we have here is a record that is definitely an enjoyable experience; it’s something to easily accompany that relaxing drive in the sun, with the windows rolled down.
Released On: July 16th, 2021
Released By: Controlled Substance Records
Genre: Alt Rock / Hip-Hop
- Andy Chaves / Vocals
- Andrew Stravers / Drums
- Tanner Riccio / Guitar
- Ryan Weddle / Bass Guitar
- The Way I Feel
- 100 Rips
- Drop Top
- Pocket Fulla
- One Day
- Hotel Lobby
- Too $hort
- Way Too High
- Last Call