Controlled mayhem from the kings of SXSW. Getintothis’ Will Fitzpatrick is basks in the shadow of Suuns.
Ben Shemie looks pissed off.
There’s different levels of pissed off, of course. There’s the vague nark that creeps up after legging it to catch a bus, only to discover that you’ve not got enough change.
There’s the stern glare of your boss as he nabs you looking up ‘donkey punch’ on Wikipedia.
Then there’s the sort of brooding, ‘fuck the world’, intensity-in-ten-cities kinda pissed off that Shemie displays, staring out from under his eyebrows and casting a menacing air over tonight’s proceedings.
There’s no need for him to feel quite so vexed, however. His band Suuns are awesome.
The Canadian four-piece essentially plot a route between taut, groovesome post-punk riffery and textured atonality, like Spoon‘s Transference taken to its logical conclusion.
Then they find various ways to fuck with that formula – no song in their set sounds like the one that preceded it.
Up Past The Nursery takes an uber-minimalist beat and builds ominously on an unsettlingly unintelligible vocal line, whereas the louder Gaze pushes a pulsating riff to the fore, sounding almost heroic in the process.
Ok, for the most part, their next trick consists of deafening swathes of screaming guitar or layered electronic crackles, but it’s how they merge the two that’ll keep you guessing. Very often this sounds like utter cacophony, but they’re always in control of the mayhem.
It’s not difficult to see why there was such a buzz about these guys at SXSW in March.
Shemie sings like Clinic‘s Ade Blackburn with his teeth wired shut, while being shown videos of his entire family being gunned down.
Synth dude Max Henry, meanwhile, spends the entire show in a rapture-esque trance, as though there’s no world beyond that stage. Watching Suuns, you may well feel that way yourself.
Suuns: Pie IX