Suite 709’s debut album blends genres, soulful vocals

Christopher Nguyen

She Don't Even Know by user1299897

Since making their debut at South By Southwest last year, Suite 709 has built a devoted following that reaches far beyond its Austin base. With help from fans, the band successfully raised $10,000 to fund their recently released debut album, Keys. Never afraid to wear hooks and pop melodies on their sleeves, Suite 709 has made an album that serves as Austin’s answer to Bruno Mars, retaining his same soul without resorting to hackneyed lyrics or saccharine music.

Keys is an unadulterated throwback to soul, rock, pop and funk when music could avoid irony, when love could be dopey and cheesy but still true and when experimentation meant adding another instrument.

“She Don’t Even Know” features a stomping beat and an infectious hook about a girl oblivious to the perfect man in front of her. “Rockets” soars on lead singer Jirod’s Greene’s “oh, ohs” and the gentle tings of a xylophone. Listeners are bound to sigh at the engagement-song-ready chorus of “Miss You the Most (True Love)” (And I miss you the most when our favorite song comes on/When we’re talking on the phone). The album ends on the triumphant album highlight “Apple and Oranges.”

Throughout, Greene’s soulful vocals easily capture the excitement but also the disappointing sides of love, while the melodies effortlessly blend genres, from blues to soul.

At five songs and under 20 minutes, Keys lacks the substance of a full-blown album, but hopefully it is the key that will unlock the beginning of more great songs to come.

Printed on 07/14/2011 as: Suite 709 debut blends several genres