By Jonathan Fuchs, Copy Editor
[Secretly Canadian; 2016]
Key Tracks: “Instrument,” “Brainwash,” “Paralyzer”
Montreal-based band Suuns have always been difficult to get into. Their sound is simultaneously abrasive and funky, with previous albums Zeroes QC and Images Du Futur that can only be described as loud and abstract, making it a challenge to group them into a basic genre. On their newest record Hold/Still, Suuns holds onto their funkier sounds but still explores a much darker sound that feels like nothing heard before.
Hold/Still begins with “Fall,” which couldn’t be a better track to open up such a dense record. Its intense distortion fills up the entire soundscape and surprises the listener without even having to drop until the last minute. It grabs the listener and refuses to let go, ensuring that no one leaves the album until it’s over.
The rest of the album flows into a cold and catchy atmosphere that constantly toys around with its instrumentation, even when there isn’t an instrument playing and feedback is all that is being heard. Songs like “Instrument” and “Brainwash” contain moments where silence and feedback is the only thing occupying the song, feeling like the atmospheric equivalent of being trapped alone in a cold, dark room. The band’s funkier style is especially prominent on tracks like “Resistance” that know how to perfectly use repetitive rhythms without feeling exhausted.
Hold/Still is Suuns’s best record yet, as it takes their already unique sound and expresses it through a much darker style. It knows how to keep the listener’s attention through its mixture of silent and booming instrumentation. It’s definitely one of the more surprising records to come out this year, especially since not a lot of music news outlets have been talking about it.