The third release from Montreal rock band Suuns, Hold/Still, is a psychedelic journey where metal meets clay, and nature versus machine. The whirlwind of moods makes for a bumpy ride, but somehow it all comes together on every track. The album begins with “Fall” where a screechy guitar meets a heavy dance beat that could tare down walls with the right speakers. Lead singer Ben Shemie speaks softly with a ghostly and detached presence. The heavy metal guitar fused with the dubstep feel in the beat sets the tone for the rest of the album.
The wild ride picks up again on “UN-NO” with a sort of pick sliding technique on the guitar that gives listeners the feeling of reaching a maximum altitude, and preparing to experience a horrifying freefall. The pop beat comes in later on in addition to Shemie’s same ghostliness to make “UN-NO” one of the major highlights. “Resistance” steps on the toes of “UN-NO” as there’s no empty space in between the two tracks. Amp noise connects the two tracks right before Shemie comes in at the beginning of “Resistance” repeatedly stating, “resist” in a monotonous tone. It feels like this track is going to be an electronic nightmare until a grungy melody breaks out from the merciless techno onslaught.
“Translate” is the easiest listen on the entire album. It sticks to the cyborginess of the LP up until this point, but brings the Cocteau Twins along. The entire composition sounds like it could have been a bonus track on Garlands. On “Brainwash” the fusion of organic and inorganic continues, but this time there’s different way the two are combined. On previous tracks such as, “Resistence” where the guitar melody is bound by electro instrumentation, “Brainwash,” allows the melody to lead the way. The song opens with a psychedelic tune, and then accented electro beat comes in.
Listeners are reminded that Suuns is in essence a rock band when “Nobody Can Save Me Now” comes on. The Zepplin-esque blues vibe bleeds through with a futuristic twist. There’s a nice distorted guitar solo towards the end, and Shemie adds deep lyrics in the mix “Mister, mister can you help a friend/ I’ve been down, so down/ took more than I could bare/ I went down to be saved by the riverbed/ but no one came… so I left.” The gentleman responded “my son, my son/ don’t go readin’ between the lines just fuckin’ with ya head/ don’t cha know, don’t cha know nothin’ comes free…” The LP closes out with “Infinity” in which Shemie associates never ending time with the feeling of isolation.
This album isn’t something immediately attractive; listeners have to earn the gems embedded in this project. It’s worth the effort however because it’s a refreshing experience underneath. Follow Suuns on Instagram @suuns_mtl; Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/suunsband/; and buy the album on Bandcamp, https://suuns.bandcamp.com/ and Itunes. Check out other cool music on Suun’s label Secretly Canadian. Suun’s album can also be purchased on the label’s website, http://www.secretcityrecords.com/.