Posts Tagged ‘Hold Still’


It’s not hard to understand why the latest album from Montreal rockers Suuns didn’t seem to catch quickly upon release; it’s not an easy album. This is a four listen album at least in a one listen world. It takes a tremendous amount of trust in a band, from the fans, from the label, from the producer (John Congleton) to allow them to push so far ahead musically into a place almost completely untethered from the present, but ultimately it was the right move. A band consumed by the future, they experiment tremendously with space on this album, as in periods of silence between notes that serve as their own instrument. Gradually as one listens, the realization sinks in that your mind and ears weren’t ready for this type of album yet.


Montreal’s Suuns create some of the most sinister music of the moment. The quartet, whose name is pronounced “soons,” make their synths and guitars needle and throb, while the beats behind them land with a deadly depth. There’s a bit of vintage Suicide in the sound, only slower, as well as some Velvet Underground, but with even more drone. Suuns formed in 2007 with singer/guitarist Ben Shemie (who sounds like Radiohead’s Thom Yorke on thorazine) and guitarist/bassist Joe Yarmus. Their debut, , “Zeroes QC” had songs you could dance to. Only Frankenstein’s monster could shake it to the new one. Luckily, its shrouded mood draws you in, clicking, flickering and twisting in a world of dark wonder.


Hold/Still, the third studio album from Suuns, is an enigmatic thing: an eerily beautiful, meticulously played suite of music that embraces opposites and makes a virtue of cognitive dissonance. It is a record that does not give up its secrets easily. A natural step on from theirtwo previous albums, 2011s Zeroes QC & 2013s Images du Futur, and yet a marked departure,Hold/Stillis a cerebral exploration ofhow to take live and analogue instruments and create a deeply textured electronic record. In May 2015, they decamped to Dallas,Texas to work with Grammy-winning producer John Congleton and for three intense weeks they recorded by day and stewed in their cramped apartment by night. It felt like we were on a mission – looking for something to take us out of our element, or that might seepinto our music, say the band. Hold/Still will be released 15 April, 2016.

Thefirst single, “Translate”, is one of the defining songs of the album – the sound of a band working in mental lockstep, crafting guitar music that feels unbeholden to clear traditions or genre brackets. It is a song that the band have been reworking for years, and wasone of the last songs to be finished for the album, and yet, perhaps, defines the record perfectly. The synthesizers are the work of Max Henry, an obsessive who builds his own patches and confesses to using cranky or budget equipment – [good gear] does all the work foryou, and thats not always fun.

Accompanying the song is the first of a trilogy of videos for the album (the second and third installments will be launched ahead of therecord release). Shot by Charles-Andr Coderre, a long term collaborator of the band, he says‘Translate’, the first music video of atriptych series, is an incandescent vision. It was shot with thermal imagery. The concept was simple: film the band in their rehearsalspace and transfigure the footage into something unusual and gorgeous. We experimented the different meanings of the word”translate” and explored a new film language by shooting what the human eye can’t see.”

Also released today is the Dark Sky Psych remix of Translate”– the first of a number of remixes that will be launched alongside tracksfrom the album. This one takes”Translates” repetitive, krautrock-like rhythms and squeezes them into a tighter, mesmeric arrangement..Says Dark Sky “We really liked the psyched out sounds and sonics from the original track which sounded vintage but also forwardthinking. We were inspired to build on this vibe.”