By Jeremy Thacker
A couple of years ago my wife and I were waiting in line to see a show at Velour when a group of guys approached us and asked if we wanted free wristbands. Intrigued, I took one and read “Suit Up, Soldier.” One quick Spotify search later and I was converted. Consisting of frontman Wesley Monahan, drummer McKay “Spartacus” Johnson, and guitarist Ryan “Stingray” Rostrum, Suit Up, Soldier is one of the most impressive pop/rock trios I’ve had the pleasure of listening to.
Suit Up, Soldier’s debut album, Curse the Day I Act My Age, is the brainchild of Monahan – a work 6 years in the making, centered around themes of youthful innocence and energy and chock-full of passionate guitar riffs and epic drum beats. The clarity and attention to detail present in every song show just how experienced of a songwriter Monahan is, and how proficient Spartacus and Stingray are with their respective instruments as well. The instrumentation blends together very well, while Monahan shows a stunning vocal range. Each element is already impressive on its own, but when they come together the songs end up being so much more than just the sum of their parts. The whole album is very polished, and it’s incredibly fun.
For an example of how polished the record is, look no further than “Tongue Tied Twisted,” one of the band’s lead singles. The keys, bass, guitar, drums, and vocals in this song all come together so well and make it incredibly easy to get lost in this song. The catchy lyrics made it impossible for me to go longer than a couple of hours without singing “T-t-t-t-tongue tied and twisted” to myself.
Other personal favorites include “Houdini” and “Villains,” which lean more towards rock than pop and work really well at the beginning of the album to draw the listener in. Honestly, the transition between the introduction ”Welcome to the Main Event” and “Houdini” can only be described as magical (see what I did there?). Songs like “Hush” and “Roses Are Red, Violets Are Violet” allow Suit Up, Soldier to slow things down a bit and show the people behind the music. These songs are where you’re going to get a more personal feel for the band and really let the emotion shine.
While listening to Suit Up, Soldier, I was reminded of several bands, but Imagine Dragons and Walk The Moon specifically come to mind. Not only do they have similar tones, but the songs on Curse The Day I Act My Age end up following similar chord progressions to some of their more popular songs as well. This actually ends up being my greatest concern for the band. There are a lot of talented groups that have very similar tones and I’ve seen too many end up getting caught in the shuffle. Suit Up, Soldier proves that they have not just the talent but also the skill to really stand out in an oversaturated market though, and I’m excited to see how they differentiate themselves from other bands in future releases.
Overall I can’t recommend Suit Up, Soldier enough. Curse the Day I Act My Age has made it into my heavy rotation and I’m eagerly looking forward to any future releases.
Make sure to follow Suit Up, Soldier on Instagram. You can listen to “Tongue Tied Twisted” below!