Precision, minimalism, repetition, and unsettling deviations of said repetition - these are the building blocks of the surly universe created by Montreal's Suuns. It's a universe of high tension. A universe of resistance and surrender to all the hopelessness, anxiety and privilege of being self aware out here at the edge of history. Now, with Grammy-winning producer John Congleton at the helm, Suuns' sonic cornerstones have become heavier, more penetrating, nearly tactile. Hold/Still, their 3rd proper album, exists at the intersection of 20 Jazz Funk Greats and Kid A - a serpent's hiss that is also yearning and hot-blooded. Its contents are the proof as to why Suuns absolutely deserve to be listed next to the names of dark groove adventurers like Stott, Forest Swords, Arca and Haxan Cloak. You've been proper warned.
Back in November of 2012 Suuns and close friend Radwan Ghazi Moumneh of Jerusalem In My Heart spent a week in a Montreal studio creating a collaborative album pulling in their two distinct sounds into one set of fluid and trippy recordings. These songs were not heard live until over a year later at Pop Montreal in 2013 which jump started both sides' efforts to finish this truly unique record.
More than two years later now we are proud to present the final product, a self-titled collaborative album from Suuns and Jerusalem In My Heart out April 14th.
Images du Futur builds upon the intensity of Suuns' 2010 debut, but often does so through new textures and subtler dynamic maneuvering. Album standout "Edie's Dream" begins with a single bass line repeated from which layers build & rise — first drums, then a wash of white noise; echoes of guitar, then chanted vocals. The song's clever shifts are jazz-touched and delicate, almost subliminal. It all makes for a stark, skeletal boogie — more an astral projection than a song. "Edie's Dream" exemplifies the restraint of which Suuns is capable and works to make the unhinged moments all the more devastating.
Lauded by Pitchfork and NME — the former saying "few bands this young are operating on quite this scale, and fewer still have the brass-- and the patience-- to pull off a big, glitzy, complex record like Zeroes QC," and the latter declaring them 2011's Best New Band — Suuns have deepened their approach, using minimalist techniques to create maximalist works. Produced once again by Jace Lasek from Besnard Lakes, Images blasts out of the gate with "Powers of Ten," laying out a sort of manifesto for the record in the very first lines: "Got it together/I read in the paper/all of theses strangers/stranger and stranger.../No, no, no, no, how you try and remember/how all of these pieces/all fit together." Shemie says of the process, "As a band we were trying to look at our music from further and further away, seeing more details in the picture as we expanded the landscape."
With a couple weeks off this summer in Montreal, we thought we'd take a crack at a few new songs. Stark and futuristic, these are extended jams that may or may not materialize as condensed versions of themselves on records to come. Open air textures, repetition and exploration were the name of the game for us on this one, and the finished product is a refined mining of the ideas that came out. "Bambi" is a creepy story of love lost and found, while "Red Song" is just that: a song about color.
Montreal’s Suuns possess a rare trait in rock music: restraint. They use it like an instrument, which makes their debut full-length Zeroes QC as unsettling as it is wonderfully exasperating. It’s immediately apparent in album opener “Armed for Peace,” a track that starts off like a robot breaking down in a hot desert; the song’s mechanic beat plods like iron-shoed footsteps as the melody of a wheezing synth mirrors the crackling sound of old transistors and circuitry being cooked in the sun. It’s deceptively lulling, the tension almost unnoticeably wrenching up and up until the track unexpectedly opens into a barrage of nose-diving guitar riffs and crashing drums – yet the band still stays locked on the song’s linear, forward-motion direction.
Zeroes QC is a warm yet dark, propulsive collusion of pop, post-punk and experimental rock – one that allows the group to musically shapeshift without losing any of the sense of tension and unease that runs throughout the record. During tracks like “Gaze,” tightly wound guitars and bass ring and buzz atop Liam’s metronomic, powerhouse drumming, with Ben’s cool, detached vocals acting as a nervy counterweight as he delivers falsely assuring lines like, “Don’t you be yourself, you are someone else.” Often his close-miced sing/speak is as metronomic as it is melodic; in “Arena” Ben’s rhythmic “What-choo, what-choo”’s are reminiscent of Suicide’s Alan Vega as he leads the band’s death disco groove into a bloodbath of razor-sharp guitars, while his icy, hushed delivery in “Sweet Nothing” is almost as motorik as the song itself. Most impressive, though, is how Suuns effortlessly sculpt memorable pop songs from experimental building blocks, frequently using noise and space as actual hooks. All of this amounts to a great first album – one that is as timeless as it is thrillingly modern