Suzuki/Method is a band from the UK featuring brothers and founders Adam Leishman (lead vocals/guitar) and Glen Leishman (keyboards) along with Michael Mathews (bass/vocals), David Boyd (drums/percussion) and Ben Hounslow (guitar/vocals). The recorded this EP, Native, which is their debut, during the Salford riots. It was produced by David Tolan (Delphic, New Order, Primal Scream) and Jim Spencer (The Doves, The Vaccines, 808 State).
The band cites influences ranging from Daft Punk to The Smiths, but one can also hear many of the artists that Tolan and Spencer previously worked with in their sound, which is probably what attracted the producers to the project. Listening to the slightly melancholic opening track “Sherbet,” Michael’s smooth bass line sounds like it could have been lifted directly from an old 808 State track, though it also has something of an bubbly ’80’s disco vibe. The song’s jangly guitars have more of a modern sound, but the track overall calls to mind vintage New Order and, to a lesser degree, Primal Scream. What’s important to note is that it’s quite the grower. The first time you hear it, the almost jittery music is so immediate that one hardly notices the warm melody and Adam’s passionate vocals, which become more rewarding with multiple listens. “When the stars came crashing down / You were nowhere to be found,” he sings fervently. The song is described as a “forlorn tale of youth in crisis” and the band convey it with a fitting sense of urgency that’s quite infectious.
“You point the finger and you do it so well,” Adam sings during the band’s new wave-flavored first single, “Country Cousins.” “I was doing what you won’t believe,” he beams during the hooky chorus. The band’s lyrics often shift from being socially conscious to introspective within the blink of an eye and it’s not always entirely clear what they’re singing about, leaving room for the listener’s own interpretation. Likewise, some might say that this song has an early ’90’s house vibe while others would dub it entirely ’80’s. Of course, the reality is that it’s just as fresh and contemporary as it is retro, which is what makes the band so charming. But, yes, they definitely seem to be more influenced by the past than what’s going on in the music world today, which is refreshing when you stop and think about how many bands today all sound the same, like they’re all just borrowing from each other and rewriting the same handful of songs. If I had to speculate about current artists who may be informing Suzuki/Method’s music, I would go with White Lies for the intricate guitars and their raw textures and Bloc Party for their ability to write rock songs around what are essentially pop melodies and beats. I think the Bloc Party influence is especially audible during the EP’s third song, “Be Cruel Be Kind,” which also bares something of an intoxicating Rio-era Duran Duran influence.
The group’s love of synthesizers is especially expressed during “Strangelet,” which allows Glen to show off his superb keyboard abilities and also packs another impressive bass guitar line — this time a very funky one — from Michael. “You’re building empires overseas / I kill myself in your company,” Adam sings during the catchy song, which would seem to be about evil corporations and the ramifications of their existence.
The band finally gets around to singing about love and what a bitch it can be during the haunting “You Asked For The Moon And You Got It.” “I’m finally coming alive / I’m taking what’s mine / So you should open your eyes / And then you’ll see what you have done,” goes the emotionally-charged chorus of the song which, like most of Suzuki/Method’s tracks, should please pop and rock fans alike.