Sucker Punch’s introspective and hard-hitting EP Better Pleasures proves the New Jersey band is among the up-and-coming class of pop-punk.
With lyrics examining relationships, with the self, with others, and what happens when they come apart – and tones ranging from mosh-worthy bridges and gang vocals to airy, atmospheric soundscapes, Sucker Punch’s dynamic and focused songwriting is on display on all four tracks.
“Worst Case Ontario” showcases the group’s ability to combine their sound with unique inspiration. This includes the 2009 cult classic horror film Jennifer’s Body. Detailing a soul doomed to a siren’s song, a blistering guitar riff leads the narrator to accept his fate in the fictional town Devil’s Kettle.
“I’m Ready To Ride Giants, Kunu” is a refreshing look at Sucker Punch’s capabilities in asserting themselves with careful attention to vulnerability. Anxieties are countered, and the song’s mantra, “I’d kill to never feel this way again,” encourages resilience.
Lyrical themes address doubt and fear of failure head-on yet maintain determination through uncertainty. In the spirited opener “Incognito Mode,” the question is posed, “A little hit of dopamine / Is that too much to ask for me? / I’ve been here before / But I’m not at the wheel.” More tender moments shine through in the second half of the EP. “We exist in my memories right where we belong / It pains me we’re both better off,” leads to acceptance in the refrain of “You Exist.”
Striking breakdowns direct the heavier tracks’ bursting energy. The more pensive songs’ stirring emotions elicit reflection. Influenced by emo-tinged pop-punk icons like Fall Out Boy, Sucker Punch references the genre’s pioneers while avoiding cliches.
Guitarist Billy Butka spoke about the EP’s creation and its place in Sucker Punch’s catalogue. “Better Pleasures is our most ambitious record to date. We were inspired to take risks and try out new things to bring out the energy and emotion in these songs. We tackle issues of hedonism and self-doubt. And we also urge listeners to find more worthwhile and sustainable sources of happiness and a better sense of self-worth.”
Sucker Punch will celebrate Better Pleasures’ release at the House of Independents in Asbury Park, New Jersey on November 4th, 2023. Halogens, Grin & Bear, Idle Wave, and Sonoa will round out the bill.
Better Pleasures Track Listing:
1. Incognito Mode
2. Worst Case Ontario
3. You Exist
4. I’m Ready to Ride Giants, Kunu (feat. Chris LoPorto of Can’t Swim)