Suuns: Felt review – Okay, computer, let’s channel Radiohead

Fri, Feb 23, 2018, 06:00




Secretly Canadian


Suuns attempt to blend dissonant guitar lines, razorwire electronics and psychedelica flourishes on their fourth album, but rarely do the Canadian band fuse their sonic shards in a way that’s cohesive or meaningful. Despite deploying a huge arsenal of instruments and digital trickery, Felt has too few instances that thrill and too many moments that grate and disappoint.

Take the sci-fi Moogs that underpin Watch You, Watch Me; the song’s flickering electronica that could score an android’s dream. But these graceful synths are matched with a relentless chiptunes-style, rat-tat-tat drum beat. The tension is never released. This juxtaposition of beauty and harshness can’t explain itself. Elsewhere, Moonbeams offers an exercise in drum machine battering with the formless track just kind of hanging in the air – no real direction, purpose or payoff.

There are moments when Suuns do put it all together. With its bass riff leading the rest of the song by the hand, Baseline is a mean slice of 1980s-style indie rock. Best of all is closer Materials. The beeps and blips here ring with a digital beauty – the perfect score for Ben Shemie’s whispering, synthetically manipulated vocals. When he deploys the same digital vocal effects that Thom Yorke is partial to, Shemie’s voice sounds a lot like that of Radiohead frontman. But echoing Radiohead, a band of similar sonic interests, just accentuates Suuns’ failings.