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SUUNS

Suuns

The Witness

    As a band who has been around for thirteen years and toured all corners of the world, there comes a point when the veil of mystique must be fully lifted. Up until now, experimental rockers SUUNS have revelled in mystery like a silhouette disappearing into the mist, releasing albums that rest comfortably in ambiguity, detachment and innuendo. But lately, the band appears to be more comfortable coming clean with their own inner workings. That newfound sense of ease is undeniable on SUUNS’ fifth full-length album The Witness – their first for Joyful Noise Recordings.

    Self-recorded and self-produced over the majority of 2020 – a year of strife, solitude and reflection –The Witness finds the band holding a magnifying glass over their own default state of playing and performing. It’s a swift departure from previous album Felt, which harvested haphazard ideas in their embryonic, demoed versions, as if letting loose a glorious fireworks display into the heavens. The Witness, meanwhile, pours SUUNS’ music into a more intricate mold, compelling the band to embrace the vibrancy of their live performances and urging vocalist Ben Shemie to approach his lyricism with unabashed directness.

    “There’s something interesting about the idea of a collective witness, being a witness to the time we’re living in now,” Shemie reflects. “And the connectedness of what we all have in common. But also, literally: bearing witness to all sorts of things and how that desensitises you. There’s a recurring line that comes back on the record: ‘I know that you’ve seen it too.’ It kind of comes down to being true to yourself and acknowledging what is and isn’t real.”

    Perhaps unintentionally, SUUNS have always been a strangely intimate band, and with The Witness, they themselves became aware of the extent of this. Though the world is becoming a more distorted, confusing place, The Witness extends a sonic lifeline to latch onto, one bolstered by years of friendship, chemistry and trust.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: 'The Witness' is without a doubt, Suuns' springboard into mainstream consciousness. While their previous outings were undeniably well done, it's here we get to see their inventive leap into soaring synthpop and scattered electronica, while still hearing myriad elements of their original sound.

    TRACK LISTING

    Third Stream
    Witness Protection
    C-Thru
    Timebender
    Clarity
    The Fix
    Go To My Head
    The Trilogy

    Suuns are pleased to announced their new album, Felt, coming out March 2nd on Secretly Canadian. Singer/guitarist Ben Shemie says, “This record is definitely looser than our last one [2016’s Hold/Still]. It’s not as clinical. There’s more swagger.” You can hear this freedom flowing through the 11 tracks on Felt. It’s both a continuation and rebirth, the Montreal quartet returning to beloved local facility Breakglass Studios (where they cut their first two albums [Zeroes QC and Images Du Futur] with Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes) but this time recording themselves at their own pace, over five fertile sessions spanning several months. A simultaneous stretching out and honing in, mixed to audiophile perfection by St Vincent producer John Congleton (helmer of Hold/Still), who flew up especially from Dallas to deploy his award-winning skills in situ.

    Complementing O’Neill are the ecstatic, Harmonia-meets-Game Boy patterns unleashed by electronics mastermind Max Henry. Eschewing presets, Henry devised fresh sounds for each song on Felt while also becoming a default musical director, orchestrating patches and oscillations. Quietly enthusing about “freaky post-techno” and Frank Ocean’s use of space, he’s among your more modest studio desk jockeys: “Yeah, I sat in the control room while the others played – hitting ‘record’ and ‘stop’. It also gave me the flexibility to move parts around and play with effects. I do have a sweet tooth for pop music.”



    STAFF COMMENTS

    Darryl says: Hypnotic synth throbs, dusty percussion workouts and flickering kosmische bass meet with ambient downtempo before thrashing forwards into dark dystopian minimal wave. Superb.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Look No Further
    2. X-ALT
    3. Watch You, Watch Me
    4. Baseline
    5. After The Fall
    6. Control
    7. Make It Real
    8. Daydream
    9. Peace And Love
    10. Moonbeams
    11. Materials

    Montreal’s Suuns spent the winter and spring of 2012 writing and recording ‘Images Du Futur’. Their sessions were concurrent with the Quebec student protests that started in February of 2012 and continued through September of this year. Set against a backdrop lead singer Ben Shemie calls “a climate of excitement, hope and frustration,” Suuns aimed for an expansion of the musical ideas on their critically acclaimed first record, ‘Zeroes, QC’.

    ‘Images Du Futur’ builds upon the intensity of their debut, but often does so through new textures and subtler dynamic manoeuvring. Album standout ‘Edie’s Dream’ begins with a single bassline repeated from which layers build and 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. 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.”

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Darryl says: The sophomore release from Suuns builds on their excellent debut with a restrained and minimal intensity that threatens to boil over with washes of unhinged noise, but rarely does. A brooding classic!

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Powers Of Ten
    2. 2020
    3. Minor Work
    4. Mirror Mirror
    5. Edie's Dream
    6. Sunspot
    7. Bambi
    8. Holocene City
    9. Images Du Futur
    10. Music Won’t Save You


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