Review Summary: Suuns churns through the tracks of their debut record with an ear for subtlety, as each song grows and morphs with minimalist and psychedelic electronics. They've got room for improvement, but their style of organic songwriting shows strong potential.
Modern indie music often finds itself pigeonholed into a niche composed of cliche hooks and formulaic repitition of a forerunner’s once original devices. With this progression towards artistic homogeneity, it becomes all the more refreshing to hear the new formulas presented by the group’s outliers. Montreal’s Suuns stand amongst those who refrain from fulfilling pre-ordained expectation, and who have attempted to redefine the limitations of the song as a unit of expression.
Suuns have crafted a relatively fresh mixture of the organic and the electronic with their debut album Zeroes QC. Each song consists of a structural make-up that emphasizes minimalist compositions building upon themselves until either reaching a degree of stasis or an inward collapse upon the foundations that amounted to such a tensed disharmony.
Album opener “Armed for Peace” does well to give listeners a taste of what to expect, as its thick, throbbing percussion lays the foundation for a jagged and muddled synth line which builds and flows into a comfortable and organically grown dynamic that they’ve only created to distract listeners from what’s to come. A minute and thirty seconds later the guitar reacts with immediacy and aggression, and regardless of how unexpected the change, the transition feels anything but forced.
The following nine tracks follow a similar trajectory; all exceeding the expectations they’ve set for themselves and constantly keeping the listener guessing. But since they lack a certain degree of aesthetic cohesion, it’s difficult to address the album as encompassing a specific style.
“Arena” borrows the arpeggiation of Muse’s “Knights of Cydonia” and throws it in a stylistic blender with aspects of post-punk and dub to create an eerie and groovy calm. “Pie IX” breathes like a nightmarish whisper that dances continuously around an outburst that is never realized. “Up Past the Nursery” invokes the subdued delicacy of early Clinic playing one of their more dance-inducing numbers.
From a theoretical perspective, Suuns has put together one hell of a promising debut. They’ve shown that they have the capacity to articulate style in a variety of different ways that never sound forced, as each song works carefully to build from the ground up. The shorter tracks “Marauder” and “Fear” don’t seem as if they’re allowed enough time for the band to fully flesh out their ideas, resulting in a mere snippet of what could have been a better realized song. We should expect great things from this band if they can fine tune their songwriting for a sophomore release.