Want a dose of blood-pumping contemporary rock? If so, you need to check out Normal Suits. Already blasting the Baltimore indie rock scene to pieces, this experienced trio of musicians have come together to deliver a refined and intelligent debut album: Our New Happy Life. It’s edgy, powerful and packs a punch, but it remains well-structured and draws on a range of influences to ensure it keeps you on your toes.
Brad (bass & vocals), Shawn (guitar, piano & vocals) and Mike (drums) are Normal Suits. They combine fantastically and know what they want to achieve. They’re seriously experienced musicians who are equally happy on stage as they are in the studio or behind the mixing desk. Of course they write their music but they also record, produce, mix and master everything themselves, ensuring their sound is exactly as intended. So many rock bands choose the easy option and imitate others. Normal Suits don’t. They have vision and it shows.
The 1990s Washington DC music scene is the most noticeable influence on Normal Suits. Baltimore is only a stones-throw away from DC, where Brad, Shawn and Mike cut their teeth listening to legendary post-hardcore bands such as Fugazi and Jawbox. The DIY ethos and cultured aggression of the post-hardcore scene is recognisable in both the approach Normal Suits take and the music they make. But they don’t dwell in the past. They add a forward-thinking slant to their classic foundations, ensuring they aren’t mistaken for wannabes.
Our New Happy Life opens with the catchy and accessible Babble Cadabra before kicking forward with the no-nonsense stormer Thing One – one of our favourites on the album. 19 Times slows things down and shows just how diverse Normal Suits are, and this continues with All We Want – a layered, down-tempo number that maintains the dark and brooding vibe that underpins the entire album. Possibility of Arcing showcases their confidence and Evacuation Special leads with a hint of Asian exotica that I for one didn’t expect. It’s creative and stands out. The hypnotic Eye See Are delivers a guitar-heavy wall of sound and the album wraps up with Green Lemons, which lifts the listener out of the turmoil and back to reality.
So what next for Normal Suits? They’re already writing and recording new material and are set to follow up their debut album later in the year. Subscribe to Urban Antenna and we’ll keep you up-to-date on what’s to come. In the meantime, download Our New Happy Life and get excited about what’s still to come from this promising Baltimore three-piece.