From the first moments of rumbling bass and distorted vocals on “Look,” Fiction, the new release from Canadian noise-rock outfit Suuns, stands apart. Released on the experimental label Joyful Noise Recordings known for their eclectic drone, ambient, and electronic artists, they are breaking barriers and reaching beyond the underground in the process.
The free-form intro to the first track turns suddenly into a consistent beat. Malleable sounds turn to rhythmic consistency before suddenly moving on to the next song. One of the best moments on this short EP is the Middle Eastern melody in the track “Breathe,” which features Constellation Records artist Jerusalem in My Heart. It is altogether memorable and satisfying. Acoustic instrumentation is contrasted by an electronic snare and synth sounds.
One issue with this song is that it could have been longer, making it more hypnotic and immersive. This quickly becomes a theme with the EP. It isn’t enough to simply transition from amorphous to steady, there needs to be more development to not just capture the listener’s attention but to keep it.
Each song could be fleshed out a little more, and each theme could have been expanded upon. Fiction should have been worked on more thoroughly and, with a few additional songs, it could have become a fully realized full-length album.
The listener consistently desires changes in rhythm. There are a lot of good ideas here, but most of them could have been expanded upon. “Pray” is full of interesting sounds, but again the electronically-produced beats lack. When the beat first drops the listener’s ears perk up, but it doesn’t go much further than that. Still the track is longer than the others, and to better results.
“Fiction” is actually probably the most lackluster track on the whole release. The vocals leave something to be desired, the guitars are low in the mix, and the beat is monotonous. There are definitely better moments on the record.
One example is the vocals from Amber Webber on the track “Death,” which are reminiscent of early shoegaze, but with a modern twist. While there could have been more done with them, the track opens with some blissful guitar noise. The whole song is drenched with My Bloody Valentine influence.
Finally, the drums in the last track “Trouble Every Day” are distant, in an almost jazz-like recording but stop suddenly before returning. The spoken word quickly becomes incomprehensible, but their tone provides a jolt of emotion that the album needs. But, like the rest of the EP, it stops without ceremony.
Fiction from Suuns seems like a pre-cursor to a better album that is yet to come. It doesn’t feel finished and the listener can only help that these ideas are fully realized on a longer, more dynamic and versatile release.