Suuns – Zeroes QC

January 01, 1970



(Secretly Canadian)


“Don’t be yourself. You are someone else,” sings Ben Shemie
from Montreal’s
Suuns (formerly Zeroes), in “Gaze,” a chilled, quietly alienated moment on his
band’s debut. It would be even more effective as a metaphor, if Suuns didn’t
spend the whole second half of their album taking his advice literally, in a
string of songs that sound remarkably like Clinic.


Like many first-timers, the members of Suuns spend some time
trying on styles, now eerie shoe-gaze a la School of Seven Bells (“Gaze”), now
frantic, asymmetrical dance beats (“Mrdr”, “Sweet Nothing”) that have a whiff
of Black Dice and !!! to them.   Shemie,
and his fellow band mate Joe Yarmush, apparently started as beatmakers – and
there’s still a strong rhythmic foundation to many of these cuts. Gradually,
with the addition of live drummer Liam O’Neill and keyboard/bass player Max
Henry, they began fleshing out their ideas with traditional rock instruments. Their
producer, Jace Lasek from Besnard
Lakes, mostly likely had
some input into the lush and distorted guitar textures that distinguish the
first half of the album.


Suuns never really establishes its own consistent sound,
until, near the end, the band settles on an aesthetic of jittery, robot-funky
beats, murmured vocals, and repetitive keyboard riffs.  It’s entertaining, but unfortunately sounds awfully
familiar. “PVC”, in particular, is a dead ringer for “The  Return of Evil Bill”, while “Organ Blues”
cuts almost as close to “Goodnight Georgie,” Obviously, no one’s got a patent
on beat-driven, groove-stuttering, reverbed pop, and if Suuns wants to do
this,  god bless.  Just be aware that there’s an elephant in the
room, and it’s wearing a surgical mask.  



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