As a UT grad student and an avid crossword puzzler, I often find myself picking up the Daily Texan. Though I have but one purpose for the paper, it’s not unusual for me to accidentally read some actual articles on my way to the syndicated puzzle in the back. Last week, I happened to notice an album review for local pop-rock band Suite 709. The review was mainly complimentary, doling out a B+ for the EP, and described the music as “an unadulterated throwback to soul, rock, pop and funk when music could avoid irony.” That sweeping generalization aside, it piqued my interest as a fan of all four of those genres.
I already had Suite 709 on my radar, though, having been tipped to their sugary goodness by a Sounds Under Radio fan. That connection isn’t surprising to me, since both of these bands are incredibly radio- and TV-show-friendly. Whereas SUR focus more on the ballad-y melodrama, though, Suite 709 go more for uptempo lite funk. They say in interviews that they are inspired by Motown and want to bring that style to a contemporary aesthetic. In that regard, I don’t think they’re succeeding. I guess I can see the Motown influence, but their music sounds more like 70s Philly soul to me. I hear the O’Jays and the Spinners as filtered through the soulful Adult Alternative of Maroon 5 and Train. “Apples and Oranges” is probably the best example:
You can hear the electric piano, the vaguely funky rhythm section, the build to the big horn-filled chorus and the positive lyrics affirming true love – combining elements from all of those artists mentioned above. This isn’t music that’s going to win much love from the Eastside hipster crowd (like Sounds Under Radio’s music), but it’s high quality feel-good music that should appeal to a wide swath of music lovers. Apparently, it already does since Suite 709 has been drawing consistently bigger and bigger crowds here and around the country. If you want to check it out for yourself, head over to their website where you can get a copy of Keys for the small price of an email address. Let us know what you think!