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REVIEW: Suuns – “Felt”

On first listen, Suuns sounded to me like a shaken up byproduct of the indie/electro scene. Now I wonder if they are actually more of an antithesis. But there is one thing we can be clear on: Every sound they create and every feeling they evoke is completely to design. Their music dangles over the edge of reality, partially in a dream state, but the line from which it hangs is woven of steel. This is the fourth full length album the band have created and it has a clear, undiluted vision. Suuns have their influences sure, but it’s obvious that they have no intention of sounding like anyone else. And they are making nothing but the exact music they want to make.

Suuns have a running mantra of making many of their instruments sound deliberately clunky and distorted, with an almost low-grade tinny punky production juxtaposed with some crisp electronic noise. You hear it all in opening track “Look No Further”. However, the following tracks “X-ALT” and “Watch You, Watch Me” provide us with a real pulse. In contrast to the first song, the drums go from deprecated to positively thunderous, and the electronics sing joyously. You then get the same kind of thing on a slightly more subdued scale on “Baseline…”

After this, the mood slows to a sort of industrial slump. “After the Fall.” extends the mechanized dreariness of Felt’s opening. And the tempo decelerates further still in “Control”, by which point the album all but falls into a reflective slumber. But soon enough, we get an uplift in the form of “Make It Real”. Fully charged once more, the musical tone gains a newfound sense of optimism which then turns somewhat noisy and abstract in the form of “Daydream”.

If there is an indie highlight to be found, it comes in the form of “Peace and Love”. The song also contains some great saxophone. From this, we move onto the distorted ambiance of “Moonbeams”, and the brooding, electrically charged finale of “Materials.”

I got into this whole mental battle about how this may have been on the slightly too trendy side of indie, which isn’t my bag at all. For one thing, it’s clear from the videos that the singer possess an air of Madchester swagger. But as the wisest of us know, terminologies are misleading. I guess you have to be down to earth about your experimental music. That a band would post their new album on Facebook, saying ‘We love it, hope you love it too’ tells us something. There is a simple labor of love going on here. After all, how the hell do you over-distort sounds, wobble the vocals, and slightly mis-time the guitars deliberately, to great effect? That folks, is the kind of musicianship fully lost on me.

So then I came back listening to it with fresh ears, freeing myself from the shackles of genre labeling and listened to the album at face value. FACT: The electronic sound effects have a dreamy potency. The vocals with are beautifully delivered. Those clunky moments are effectively unsettling. There are a plethora of feelings to be had; The exulted mixed with the downbeat, peppered with the occasional uplift.

The result, in the form of Felt is most certainly an acquired taste. If you backtrack, or if you have been a long time fan of Suuns, then you may find that it lacks the intense grit of earlier works such as Images Du Futur. But it still has a sense of reason and passion all of its own. It’s neither a half measure or a clone, so given all of that, how could I or anyone else not succumb to its charms in the long run?

 

Score: 8/10.

Notable tracks: “X-ALT”; After the Fall”; “Make It Real”;

FFO: Ween, Primal Scream, Eels.

Felt is now available to hear on Spotify and Bandcamp. You can also see more of Suuns on their Facebook page and their Youtube channel.

 

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