Sucker's Lunch

Madeline Kenney - Sucker's Lunch
Critic Score
Based on 9 reviews
2020 Ratings: #514 / 809
User Score
Based on 78 ratings
2020 Ratings: #613
Liked by 1 person
July 31, 2020 / Release Date
LP / Format
Carpark / Label
Dream Pop, Indie Pop / Genres
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The music slides along with a relationship to various genres that is curious and sincere while not making a firm commitment to any one, and with a depth and complexity that underlies the gentle waves on the surface.
Under The Radar

Kenney continues to show an affinity for songs that soar and swirl with intensity on Sucker’s Lunch. These tracks may come off as understated initially, but there is a layered beauty that shows itself with repeated listens.

Beats Per Minute

On Sucker’s Lunch, Kenney presents each song with a fervor only teased on previous outings and she has never sounded more compelling.


Where Wasner previously added playful flourishes to Kenney’s rapturous arrangements, she and Stack here embellish Kenney’s creations with bouncy guitar and synth effects; even the ballads on Sucker’s Lunch overflow with an ebullience at which Perfect Shapes only hinted. This pervasive, abundant joy renders Sucker’s Lunch as Kenney’s best album yet.

Co-produced by Wye Oak, the singer-songwriter’s new album reckons with a past of self-doubt and a present of intense uncertainty in order to shape something like a satisfying future.
American Songwriter
Those who dig deeper into Madeline Kenney’s uncertainties about love and affection will relate to the difficulties this process of starting a new serious relationship can be, and how wonderfully these complex and beautifully crafted songs tackle, even obliquely, that thorny subject.
If there's no happy ending for the heroine, the album still satisfies with its artful balance of meditation and catharsis.

Kenney knows her craft well enough that the occasional overly firm stroke of her pen fails to compromise the album’s rewarding atmosphere too severely, and for what it’s worth, her hit rate is a tad more consistent here than it was on Perfect Shapes.


Kenney is consistently witty and insightful in her self-deprecating, although the album ... is rarely as memorable musically as it is lyrically.

Pleasant but insubstantial guitar-driven indie pop. The music sounds improvised and Kenney's vocals uninterested. With the exception of "Picture of You" and "Sucker" which have a few surprising touches that make them memorable, the album may completely pass you by.
M. Kenney's music is like the place where all Jenn Wasner's rejected ideas go to live. still a nice neighborhood, but something's missing. the production sounds right yet the total effect is lacking. beautiful packaging for inadequate content.
A fairly standard dream pop/indie pop affair, with some blissful yet stripped down production, but it’s the overall dreary and summery tone that really draws me in to this project.

Standout: Jenny
Favs: Be that man, Cut the real, Sucker, Picture of you
Least fav: Sweet
I love this kind of indie pop, slightly experimental instrumentally, but full of enough poppiness to make it a mainstream album.
When we last checked in with budding singer-songwriter and frequent Wye Oak collaborator Madeline Kenney, I concluded that she was still a bit green but ripe for progress and improvement. Two years later, “Sucker’s Lunch” is essentially more of the same for Kenney — less of a progression and more of a replication. That’s not to say that she isn’t an intriguing musician; her blend of dream pop and art rock is appealingly hefty and complex, and like her musical ... read more
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Added on: May 19, 2020