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Suuns at the Ritz

In Music
ART & CRAFT: Taking in some cases 10 years to complete a song, Suuns are playing the long game.

ART & CRAFT: Taking in some cases 10 years to complete a song, Suuns are playing the long game.

Despite its co-opting of the word “creative,” the business models of Silicon Valley work largely in opposition to the artistic process. There is no convenience economy of art. You can’t Doordash creative inspiration, and you can’t Uber your way past its gestation period. With art, doing it right takes time.

Just ask Suuns. This March, the Montreal art-rockers released Felt, their strongest album to date and their fourth in 10 years. Recorded in numerous short stints over more than half a year and using some material the band has been working on for more than a decade, Felt finds the band at its most hypnotic and most assured.

“We figured out that this is the best way to make our record,” says guitarist and founding member Joe Yarmush. “We kind of did a session every month that was four or five days. And as annoying as that is, loading in and loading out and stuff, it really helped. It wasn’t such a disruptive process.”

Sonically lush and verdant, Felt is a record that is confident in its experimentation. Suuns has been accused in the past of borrowing a bit too heavily from the quiet-cool sounds of British rockers Clinic, but on Felt the band has come almost entirely into its own.

Take early album highlight “X-ALT” for example. Darkly danceable and coiling in on itself constantly, “X-ALT’s” constant tension hints at some maximum point that it avoids altogether, opting instead for unexpectedly tranquil passages of vocals and guitar, as though for a moment all tension had simply been whisked away. It’s surprising moments like these that give the band the impression of creating new paths through an ancient melodic forest, taking their time over the last decade and change to gently tamp down the wilderness into alternate routes of entry and exit.

Part of this confident experimentation comes from playing it so close to home. As on their previous two records, Felt was mixed by Grammy-winning producer John Congleton. This time around, though, the band flew him to Quebec for the work, aiming for a record that was made entirely in Montreal, the city that has fostered their slow-burning creativity.

“There are a lot of musicians here, and a lot of people trying to push the bar higher and higher in terms of experimentation,” Yarmush says admiringly. “Plus there’s not a rat race for money here. It’s relatively easy to live.

Suuns
Dec 7, 7pm, $11.50+
The Ritz, San Jose

 

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