By Josh Shirk – Contributor
What do they sound like?” is a question often asked when you tell someone about a new band. Sometimes, one can just say that a band makes rock music. Other times, the answer is more difficult, and we try to compare them to a better-known band. If the band is worth talking about, comparisons are difficult to come by. A band worth taking notice of isn’t trying to sound like someone else or copy the latest “in” band. A band worth noticing makes its own sound.
Suuns is the latest band to come out of the talent-rich Montreal indie-rock scene. The young band quietly released its first album, “Zeroes QC,” without much hype, but have been gaining fans the old-fashioned way: touring. The sound of Suuns has been described as industrious, haunted, chilling and moody space-prog.
Band member Ben Shemie wants the answer to be simple.
“I just say it’s a rock band,” he said. “At its core, that’s what it is. There’s loud guitar, drums, keyboards and bass.”
It’s not that simple though, and Shemie knows it.
“There is kind of a minimalist vibe to it,” he said. “There are influences of dance music, electronic music and some arty rock stuff, as well as classic rock.”
Suuns take full advantage of the Montreal scene as it recorded “Zeroes QC” in a studio in Montreal with The Besnard Lake’s lead-man Jace Lasek engineering and mixing the album.
“From a sonic point of view we got the guitar sound that we wanted,” Shemie said. “We got the drums to sound really dark so it worked out really well.”
The recording process was short and to the point, and the album benefits from it. All 10 songs make a collective sound that is unique and accessible upon first listen.
The dark drums help bring the chilling atmosphere that make comparisons to Joy Division and other post-punk bands seem reasonable. The distorted guitars and danceable moments of the opening track, “Armed for Peace,” might remind listeners of early TV on the Radio. The sonic experimenting and soft vocals of Shemie are comparable to early Deerhunter.
However, none of those comparisons is appropriate for a new band that has developed its own sound.
Suuns isn’t ready to take the indie rock world by storm just yet. It has a unique sound that is hard to pin down. The band needs more time to grow and experiment so that in five years, we can use Suuns to compare future bands to when we struggle to answer the question, “What do they sound like?”