Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Suuns - Images Du Futur

After just eighteen months Montreals’ Suuns are back with the follow up to their 2011 debut ‘Zeroes QC’

A minute of distorted guitar ‘Powers of Ten’ introduces Ben Shemie snarling in a drawling growl that has all the tenseness of Radiohead’s ‘Bodysnatchers’. When he suddenly gets drawn into a loop singing ‘and ever / and ever’ the intensity is palpable and the song threatens to buckle beneath its own weight but it’s followed by ‘2020’ with its unsettling unspooling guitar notes and by that point you know you’re out in strange territory. You may have suspected it from a glance at their unusual moniker and you’d had that suspicion confirmed if you ever came across one of the quartet’s interviews: this is a band not afraid to be thought of as pretentious and though compared to its predecessor ‘Images du Futur’ relies more heavily on compressed and treated guitars than twitchy synthesizers, to give them credit where it’s due there’s nothing here to suggest that they’ve made a retrograde rock record – everything here sounds like it could only have come from the future

Mirror Mirror’ might well be the catchiest song they’ve ever written; a morbid stomp that reimagines Sgt Pepper as a cavernous Joy Division-style epic whilst ‘Bambi’ plugs a deep, disco rhythm that balances precariously against a drifting spacious vocal from Shemie that sounds like a cut from a mythical Radiohead session between In Rainbows and King of Limbs at which they actually tried to write some tunes. This comparison reoccurs on the menacing ‘Music Won’t Save You’ on which Shemie’s intonation of ‘rock n roll’ serves to undermine several decades of cock-rock foolery, before a complex chiming guitar riff and the sound of distant laughter and applause combine to make a deeply unsettling but strangely beautiful moment. It’s outsiderdom reimagined in sonic form and all the more vivid for it.

In the past Suuns had the attention span of Crystal Castles after a four day pill bender so it’s nice that they’ve taken a rather more refined approach to song structure here and there’s even the odd song on which you can make out what Ben Shemie is singing. At their heaviest the deep, disconcerting grooves are layered in shimmering showgaze-y atmosphere that gives it a strange beauty amidst what is otherwise quite a cold album. There’s a similar nocturnal feel as the early Interpol albums, though like that band, your enjoyment of ‘Images Du Futur’ may well be bound up in your ability to stomach their frontman’s queasy Ian Curtis impression.

At just ten tracks, at least one of which is entirely instrumental there’s sometimes a lack of meat to sink your teeth into but when Suuns tell you this is an image of the future it’s hard to argue.


Max Sefton

No comments:

Post a Comment