[sic] Magazine

Suuns – Zeroes QC

Montreal is due widespread resurgence, and Suuns may well prove aftershock enough with their often highly-likeable debut. With precise production courtesy of Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes , Zeroes QC was never going to be straightforward. Yet, despite his brand of cosmic psych-rock being strongly linear, there’s barely a trace of such direction or coherence here – and that’s not a bad thing.

Opening with an arresting, curiously catchy, glitchy, scratchy dub/synth pad drawl, “Armed For Peace” handclaps its way into a heavier guitar passage that lulls only to allow Ben Shemie ‘s dreamy, clipped vocals out to play. It’s a track and introduction that half brings to mind post-Screamadelica Primal Scream -like experimentation, if, say, Vanishing Point had fancied being more tangible.

It’s a surprise then when later on Zeroes QC we encounter such disparate elements as the free-form sax blowout found imbedded in “Gaze”, lengthy electronic-led grooves, and disturbed whispery murmurs and cavalier guitar chimes (such as those that dominate the latter parts of “Arena” – the earlier parts being as close to the generic “indie rock” the band reputedly so steadfastly tried to avoid).

On “Pie IX”, Shemie screws with his voice so as to render it unintelligible above bottomed-out wobble, before the track then becomes a very odd outing that gibbers glibly while uneasy feedback slowly seeps in to pulse its eventual dominance. A discordant post-punk opening full of high-end guitar squalls then signals the arrival of the noisy instrumental “Marauder”, which frequently threatens to be as muscular as its title suggests without ever quite succumbing to its monolithic guitar and underlying funk.

Then, just as you think you’ve got Suuns pigeonholed, the rattling motorik and air-raid drone of “Sweet Nothing” take things off in relentless, compressed krautrock directions. “Up Past The Nursery” adds its tuppence too, aspiratedly nodding its way into Clinic country – comfortable hunting grounds it would seem for the band as it’s a trick repeated with the upbeat chatter of “PVC”. Zeroes QC only finally catches its breath by closing with “Organ Blues”, which runs with its titular, dirgeful organ, managing to be both forlorn and optimistic.

That all this still sounds relatively commercial, all be these moments punctuated with downright strange interludes, is quite a coup, as Suuns could easily have found themselves pushed into the black-hole niche marked curiosity. Yet, with discernable prog vision and an ear for the awkwardly attainable, they’ve instead managed a modern patchwork sewn together with the skill of an artisan, and, if su(u)nbeams they ain’t, they nevertheless always seem to find that silver lining, running pretty patterns through the clouds with it.

Advised downloads: “Armed For Peace” and “PVC”.

~Zeroes QC is out now in the US, and out the 10th January 2011 on Secretly Canadian in the UK.~