Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Suuns – Village Underground, London 05/12/12

10 December 2012, 14:50 | Written by


Upon witnessing the first five minutes of Dawn Hunger’s set, this reviewer had the same reaction as he did reading Gravity’s Rainbow for the first time – “is this genius, or simply madness?” With Claire Inglis gyrating wildly without rhyme nor rhythm, banshee wailing over abrasive, minimalist beats, it certainly grabbed the attention if nothing else.

But gradually, the elements coalesced into more cohesive forms, the pedal effects on Inglis’ vocals evoking the glacial timbre of Karin Dreijer Andersson or the dark gothic grandeur of Anja Plaschg; the electronica more sinister than you’d expect from Fuck Buttons’ Andrew Hung (who wrote, but does not perform with the project). A strange and beguiling experience in all, and one that perhaps held the attention more consistently than headliners Suuns, whose performance was at turns rivetingly vital and strangely flat.

This unevenness may be down to the Montreal band’s eclecticism – or as less charitable commentators might put it, lack of focus. For every song that sounds like Holy Fuck cut loose, all powerhouse rhythms that literally command you to dance, there’s another that sounds like generic mid-Noughties indie-rock; passable enough in its way, but not worthy of a band that’s capable of producing such beasts as “Arena”. Suuns’ vocals are certainly not their strong suit, with Ben Shemie’s ineffectual whine lacking the primal force required for music this potent, but what they lack in this respect, they more than compensate for with Liam O’Neill’s mesmerising barrages of percussion, Max Henry’s gloriously psychedelic synths, and Shemie’s own ear-shredding squalls of noise.

There are moments in their show that’d put considerably bigger acts to shame in their sheer, irresistible ability to get people to dance, and if Suuns capitalise on this in future, they could easily rise to the upper echelons of Montreal’s musical pantheon. For now though, they remain a band full of a promise that’s not quite yet been realised.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next