03 May 2011

I bought this on Amazon for less than a pack of cigarettes

SUUNS - Zeroes EP (Secretly Canadian 2010)
This one had been almost collecting dust in a digital sphere, but after seeing some SXSW reports it became apparent that this needed to be listened to further. To clarify, this wasn't purchased on Amazon but rather was made available as a free download on RCRD LBL back in August. Additionally, the band's initial name was Zeroes but after discovering there was already a group with that name it was then changed to SUUNS. These guys came to town about a month or so ago supporting the Black Angels on tour. Before that, they were on the road with Crystal Castles. While those two bands may have little in common, SUUNS make appropriate bedfellows with both of them. Thats what happens when a band boasts a post-rock post-punk sound that drips with texture. Also, want to highlight the word "boast" here as well. This is the first EP before album number one, but it sounds like they have been doing this for ions.
As far as the record itself, its a mere smattering of what could conceivably happen in the future. Six tracks clocking in at just over twenty five minutes. Enough though, to get an idea of what's going on and what is to come. There are two things that'll knock you in the head with each and every listen. One is the bass. There is actual bass all over this joint, and with headphones on its the bass that pulls at your synapses. On "Arena", the bass crawls up and down the fret board amidst the whirlwind of sound. The other is the unshakeable similarities between the vocals here and the vocals of Thom Yorke. "Optimist" and "Nnnnnnnn" are the most apparent of the batch. It's mostly in the delivery, but it registers in the mind just the same. It's not soft by any stretch of the imagination, but its not booming either. The voice comes across as the least essential piece at times, but it needs to be ever present so that the listener has something to latch on to. Throughout, there's this real wild interplay between the music itself and the words to the songs. The music brims with confidence while the words are seeped in doubt. On "Mudslinger" for instance, "Maybe this is how it ends". They're not saying that the sky is falling, but they're not ruling it out either. Or on "Disappearance Of the Skyscraper", "I killed a man when I was eleven years old/I'm innocent". The lyrical uncertainty to lines like these can be rather refreshing to someone, who for instance lives in an efficiency in West Philadelphia and second-guesses each and every decision of his existence while he tries to fall asleep.
These tracks are a lot longer than one realizes. They all go well over the four minute mark, but they fly by. The tone is established in the first minute and a half, then the vocals hit then it all swirls, whirls, and simmers and then it ends. Again, this is only the first recording. Developments certainly occurred before the proper long-player was recorded, and they'll probably continue unless of course they all grow to hate each other and the band is bogged down by infighting on-stage and then cease to exist. That does happen from time to time.

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