Published Jul 29, 2020Madeline Kenney's latest album, Sucker's Lunch, is a sweet composition of folksy synth-pop with a thin layer of groove that never quite hangs to either a major or a minor key. In addition to singing, Kenney plays guitar, synth, and piano, and is accompanied by Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack, with a collection of guest musicians jumping in for a track or two.
The lead single, "Sucker," is slow and shimmery, with backup vocals by Lambchop's Kurt Wagner. While Kenney's voice flows like honey, Wagner's is more speaking than singing, conjuring images of a duet between Blonde on Blonde-era Bob Dylan and Dolores O'Riordan at her most melodic The sound changes from song to song but, like a patchwork quilt, maintains a consistent pattern overall. "Cut the Real" has a strong electronic beat while "White Window Light" features monotonous guitar strumming and vocals that run back and forth between speaking and singing.
The overarching theme of the lyrics is not falling madly in love, nor falling out of love, but, rather, cautiously approaching love. The music slides along with a relationship to various genres that is curious and sincere while not making a firm commitment to any one, and with a depth and complexity that underlies the gentle waves on the surface. (Carpark)