Suuns – Images du Futur
Released on 5th March through Secretly Canadian
Suuns’ second full-length, released via the appropriately named Secretly Canadian label (they hail from Montreal but keep mum), sees a continuation from debut Zeroes QC; one might call it a maturing.
From the off, with Powers of Ten, it feels like familiar and mighty fine territory. A rapid yet pleasant guitar rattles into earshot soon followed by the clenched teeth delivery of Ben Shemie, spittle forming, every breath heard as he pushes into the mic as if it were a teat. There’s tension in the air and paranoia in them there hills, Shemie and crew are just here to point that out. The fact that they manage to evoke some of that paranoia is no mean feat.
Suuns are able to disorientate yet provide comfort at the same time. How they achieve this remains a mystery. Maybe it’s the warm and hypnotic tone present in several tracks that manage to lull you in; imagine LCD Soundsystem with a pinch of diazepam.
2020 takes us down a spiral scratch staircase into a basement with a huge generator that is resonating an electric charge that can only just be contained. Fortunately, before it explodes, Minor Work whisks us up into a dreamy place with a slower pace. The pulsating tone has lured Shemie the somnambulist into an ambulance that runs on valium. Unable to verbalise anything at times, the “ooh ooh oohs” simply add to the dreamwave and when Shemie does pipe up it’s the words “floating away” that stick. They’ve come to take us away….aha.
Nothing strikes as immediate or as catchy as, say, Arena, from the debut, which is a shame. There are some delicious licks splattered here and there, some sublime subtle Eno sounds that go undetected on the first few listens but, whilst restraint is to be admired, sometimes greed really is good.
Mirror Mirror tricks the mind into thinking it’s going to kick off but don’t believe everything you hear. One wonders if the sense of frustration, being willed onto the dance floor, is intentional. Is it better to retain the paranoia rather than lose control with a full-on panic attack?
The fusion of electronic, pulsing rhythms with guitar and sparse, clean beats brings Caribou to mind at times but, whilst Caribou are out at the club, Suuns have decided to stay in and read. Nothing wrong with that, but it wouldn’t hurt to shake your tail feather once in a while, non?
Edie’s Dream is a laidback lament. However, if anyone were to utter the words “I had a dream, do you know what I mean” in any normal scenario one wouldn’t be blamed for guffawing loudly. It takes a while for any sympathy to come lurking back; the slight hint of “and the living is easy” refrain from Summertime, although incongruous, does help. The song suggests Suuns haven’t seen the sun in a while. The mists have descended and, until they lift, Suuns are going to occupy our minds: “These same visions, years and years to change”. Just once in a while would be a nice surprise.
Having released covers of Fugazi and T. Rex in the past, Suuns aren’t strangers to rocking the boat but it’s evident that they don’t share Bolan’s love of boogie.
Finisher, Music Won’t Save You, is a jagged deliverance, sung as if all the words in the world had become one, Shemie sometimes barely letting the words escape his gnashers. Hope is not lost, though. It’s a wake-up call, as much for Suuns as for the listener. Towards the end, the sound of laughter can be distinctly heard. Perhaps this is the party that everybody said you should have gone to. After all, just because you’re paranoid, don’t mean they’re not after you.