There’s no denying that Everything Here is a Suffers record. While there are some dips into new sounds—some gospel influence here, more straightforward R&B there—they blend perfectly into Houston’s favorite Gulf Coast soul band’s identity. The group is mostly content staying within the lane that's brought them success around the country, but unlike other acts, their lane is so wide, their sound so broad, that it’s easy to believe The Suffers could take any genre and make it seem natural.
In fact, those newer sounds make for the stand-out tracks. “Sure to Remain” is so smooth, so sexy, so lovely, that it feels one good movie or commercial placement away from legit R&B radio smash success; you can picture, even on first listen, the candlelit makeout sessions it was born to soundtrack. It’s one of the best constructed songs to come out of Houston in recent memory.
On the flip side is “After the Storm,” a collaboration with The Motet’s Lyle Divinsky. A straightforward meditation on how communities come together after a disaster, it’s going to have anyone who survived Hurricane Harvey feeling some kind of way. Perfect in its simplicity, I’d love to hear other Houston artists tackle it, because it’s the type of track that lends itself to reinterpretation.
On the whole, Everything Here is a good record, but it’s also a record that feels very long. Chalk it up to the “cute the first time through” but generally unneeded intermissions are spread across the record that cut off the album’s forward momentum. And while appearances from Paul Wall and Bun B aren’t necessarily unwelcome, it does make the record feel like something geared toward an adoring local fanbase rather than a record that’s trying to make noise from coast to coast.
But The Suffers' strength is always going to be in their energetic, captivating live performances, so maybe overthinking the agenda of studio releases is folly. I can’t imagine anyone seeing them live, investigating their record, and ending up disappointed. The highs of Everything Here are many, whether you’re celebrating July 13 as The Suffers Day in Houston or just looking for something to fight off bad Friday the 13th vibes around the nation.