Suuns are back, following on from their successful collaboration with Jerusalem In My Heart. Hold/Still has all the minimal slinkiness of previous releases, the low end pulsating around sharp guitars and murmured Clinic-esque vocals. Released by Secretly Canadian, with an independent-store-exclusive option of coloured vinyl.
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Sorta weird rockers Suuns last made a record with Radwan Moumneh’s Jerusalem In My Heart project, the artists coming together in an experimental relay involving the former’s synth ‘n’ guitar ruminating and the latter’s frenetic buzuk compositions. It didn’t mesh very well, but that wasn’t really the point -- the layering of both sounds made for the exact textural mess that Suuns adore. Now they’re back to their own devices, though, they sound a lot more clear: ‘Hold Still’ sees them making sly, disguised post-punk tunes that live in the shadows.
Much of this record sounds like a less angular, more synthified version of Disappears latest record: riffs whine into first gear, distort and then drone towards death, while limp programmed drums create a neutral zone for everything to dissolve into. “Un - No” is the very song I’m describing now -- with those Thom Yorke-affected vocals, it sounds both distraught and disengaged. “Resistance” takes a shrill guitar snapshot and puts it alongside the kind of synth motif you’d hear in a dirty techno track -- its primary vocal line is just a dude saying “resist” with slightly different levels of calm, before the chords get wobbly. Suuns don’t really like when things coalesce, so the brief clarifying melody that crashes into this song quickly falls out of favour and into obscurity.
At times it sounds like Suuns have scribbled together ideas for pop songs and then used all the wrong materials: “Mortise and Tenon” begins with a firm melody before using the same fumbling, minimal collation of rawk and electronics, both quietly mumbling over the other. Their music is a lil’ tunnel of surprises -- “Brainwash” begins with a purdy chord sequence, distorts and squelches it to fuck, and then comes back around on it for a sparse ballad after Deerhunter’s “Microcastle” -- before changing, quite aimlessly, back to the noise.
Suuns can’t sit still, but they also aren’t jumping into action.
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