Review Summary: Sucker is a folksy-pop album that showcases Harlan T. Bobo's newfound happiness and sound.
Since Harlan T. Bobo's beginnings, he has often touched upon rather personal, yet mundane subjects. His first album, Too Much Love
focused around the dissolution of a captivating love, and subsequently, nearly all could relate. His struggles were present then, and they were present later. On I'm Your Man
, Bobo listed all of his faults, and told women everywhere that "a pragmatic woman is the only kind of woman that can make a good man out of me." But, oddly enough, after the release of that album, he began to court a rather daring woman who became the muse for his latest outing, Sucker
. Against any preconceived notions, Bobo actually triumphed
. It seemed as though his agony finally stopped, and immediately, it became apparent that he is actually happy. Rather than despair, Bobo now courts a successful relationship. He sings lines about travelling the world, happiness, despair, marriage and even fatherhood, as seen on opener "Sweet Life". Here, he proclaims to his audience: "The first time she broke my nose with a bottle of rum, I knew it was love." A lot has changed for Bobo and his music, but it may just be for the better, as Sucker
marks his stylistic shift into a more eclectic and upbeat sound.
Bobo may have formerly dabbled in muddy guitar lines and old-school songwriting techniques, but no longer is that the case. His third full-length, Sucker
, is brisk (29 minutes) and eclectic. Bobo's latest is drawn like a sketch book, constantly changing between indie pop and folk sounds, as shown best on the high-class "Errand Girl". Here, his musicianship is elegant, as opposed to the frantic indie-pop stylings of "Hamster In A Cage". On this track, he is anything but resplendent, showcasing complexity and breakneck speed. But throughout, his music is charged with positivity, even when his lyrical content is quite the opposite. "Crazy With Loneliness" tells of suicide notes and the caverns of despair, yet the arrangement is vociferous, not sullen. Even the rustic "Old Man" has a distinct tinge of happiness. However, sometimes Bobo's spry nature is hard to ignore. Sucker
features tracks like "Perfect Day", a track which accentuates a particularly chipper set of notes. Said track is the perfect harmony of honey-sweet rhythms and exuberance, as is "Mile Chatte". And while both tracks are naked, bold, and heartfelt, there is still more to come from Sucker
. "Energy" is an eccentric display of the Memphis-native's talent, splashed in both folk and indie, and "Drank" brings the short album to new heights with a graceful arrangement and a melodic, soaring finale. This fashion is relatively fresh for Bobo, as he usually dabbles in the mundane and placid. However, he has officially brought new life into his style with the eclectic, spastic Sucker
. Infused with elements of folk and pop, this album may be about settling down, but it certainly doesn't show it. In fact, this folksy little gem is doused in a newfound energy, one that could (hopefully) be expanded upon in the future.