Oakland, CA artist Madeline Kenney released her critically acclaimed sophomore album Perfect Shapes in 2018, and today she announces its stunning follow-up Sucker’s Lunch. While her debut album was produced by Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bear and her second record by Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, Madeline has enlisted Wasner to produce this record yet again, but this time with Andy Stack (Wye Oak) collaborating as well. The trio carefully co-produced and constructed the songs on Sucker’s Lunch in a few compact sessions in Durham, Oakland and San Francisco, and the album finds Madeline bounding toward the unknown. Throughout the record, she expands on the idea of what a love song could be – a little more cautious than exuberant, more nuanced than blazing devotion. Sonically, Sucker’s Lunch expands upon Kenney’s earlier, guitar-driven sound – a definitive step forward from an artist adept at communicating universal sentiments in a voice unmistakably her own. Pre-order Sucker’s Lunch, out July 31st on Carpark, HERE.
To celebrate the album announcement, Madeline Kenney shared the album’s lead single “Sucker,” featuring vocals from Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner. Check out the song and video now via The FADER, who call the track “a deft and graceful song.” Read more about the single and video inspiration from Madeline below:
“When I lived in Durham, I found myself sitting in the sun on the porch with a musical hero of mine, who was worried about losing their healthcare and not being able to afford to tour. It blew my mind and broke my heart that such a genius had to struggle with uncertainty in trying to make their art. I wrote ‘Sucker’ when I realized that all of us continue to make art, and fall in love, and attempt things that logically could fall apart at any moment, but we are fools for the game and keep producing, keep pursuing. I asked Kurt Wagner to sing on the track because I feel like he is consistently brave in his songwriting (and I’m a HUGE Lambchop fan). When he sent me the stems, I drank a martini and cried.
I’m a huge fan of con-movies; my favorite film is Paper Moon. I wanted to direct a video that put me as the con-man, whose existence relies on making suckers out of passers-by; but ended with me being the biggest loser of all. I lucked out when my favorite Oakland diner, Lois the Pie Queen, let us film on location.”
Thematically, Sucker’s Lunch sees Kenney soberly contrasting the risks and rewards of falling in love, eventually deciding to dive headfirst into her own foolishness and relish in the unknowing. The tracks explore new love from every angle – “Picture of You” is a soundtrack- worthy lamentation of never truly knowing what someone has been through (“growing up is so hard, I don’t know why”) while tender vulnerability shines on “Tell You Everything” (“When your eyes say ‘we’ve had a day, love’, I get to fall in”). Kenney audibly loses her mind on “Double Hearted,” where the playful arrangement and lyrics spark a firestorm of heartache and wild abandon. “Cut the Real” pairs synth drones with syncopated lyrics to work through a depressive mind state, and the near-devotional “White Window Light” accepts uncertainty as a beautiful gift.
Stack and Wasner’s rhythm section trace circles around Kenney’s off-kilter guitar, with verdant curls of synths, saxophone, and complex harmonies. The resulting songs are immediate and deeply moving, somehow feeling familiar while they defy expectations at every turn.
Sucker’s Lunch shines in its ability to speak the strange, ambiguous, impossible truth – nothing less than a balanced meal for the wise fool in us all.www.mkenneymusic.com/