Sure Sure’s ‘What’s It Like’ fails to deliver on promises of experimentation

Lauryn Bolz

For a band that proclaims itself an experimental staple of Los Angeles’ indie scene, Sure Sure’s newest album is more suited for a midwestern garage. 

Although this is only the band’s second full-length album, Sure Sure quickly established themselves as a serious part of the Los Angeles experimental pop scene in their early releases. Their self-titled album, released in 2018, contained nostalgic sounds reminiscent of bands like Whitney and Hippocampus without being a carbon copy of either of the popular bands. 

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“What’s It Like,” however, shows a disconnect from their earlier uniquely classic sound and, unfortunately, a convergence with more mainstream pop.

The eight-track album (including the 13 second long “Friends from the Past”) was released on June 27, approximately a year after their first album, “New Biome.” In contrast to their previous releases, “What’s It Like” takes on a more dreamy, Børns-esque feel that leaves the instrumentation mundanely trendy and the lyrics hollow and meaningless.

The first full-length track on the album, “Good Thing,” carries a catchy tune essential to a summer release, but the overuse of falsetto is an early sign to listeners that this album is about to be different than their last. The next song, the title track of the album, is embarrassingly mundane, with approximately 40% of the lyrics being an unenthused “uh” sound backed by a generic instrumentation. “Lie Lie Lie” is objectively the worst song on the album, complete with an uninspiring beat and eye-roll inducing lines such as “Life’s better when no one cries” and “I tell you it tastes good/When it tastes like a piece of wood.”

Despite the first half of the album missing the mark completely on style and lyrics, some tracks on the second half show promise. “Out of My Element” shows reminiscence to one of the band’s first hits, “New Biome,” with its lighthearted feeling and infectious melody. “Warm Animal,” though slow to start, also offers some redemption for earlier tracks with its heart-pumping chorus. These songs piqued my interest in an otherwise monotonous compilation. 

For a band that openly draws inspiration from the Talking Heads — their most popular track to date is a cover of David Byrne’s masterpiece “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) — Sure Sure should take a lesson from Byrne and work on improving their own personal style instead of blindly following the trends of the masses. 

RATING: 5/10

BEST TRACKS: “WARM ANIMAL,” “OUT OF MY ELEMENT”

WORST TRACKS: “WHAT’S IT LIKE,” “LIE LIE LIE”

Lauryn Bolz can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @LaurynBolz.