Canadian art-rockers SUUNS have been putting out compelling albums for over a decade now, each one showing further progression into their own sonic realm. That’s set to continue with The Witness, their fifth full-length, which is coming out on September 3 via Joyful Noise. Ben Shemie says:
“There’s always this restraint in SUUNS: the question of ‘how long can we hold off?’ I think it’s beautiful that way because it always brings out something unexpected. But if you’re willing to stick with us – at a show or through our music in general – it will pay off. It might take a while to get there, but we will drop a beat for you eventually. I love that we’ve been able to stick to the minimal side of things, and just let it breathe.”
The first example of their restraint comes in new single “Witness Protection”, and it works to chilling effect. It begins with pattering synth beats, quietly bouncing off Shemie’s uncertainty as he sings “minding my own business / I saw it from a distance / oh, I am a witness / what is this sickness? / I can’t resist it.” SUUNS pull off a surprising combination by sliding in some tropical hand-drums, which provide a compelling counterpoint to the fraught words and voice. As “Witness Protection” marches on into uncertainty, tense shards of synth and sparkling chimes fill the atmosphere – but, just when you think they’re going to explode, they go the other way into a heavenly acoustic outro, where Shemie dreams of escaping the greyness of his quotidian life into the titular “Witness Protection”. A downright odd and unpredictable song, “Witness Protection” is exactly why SUUNS should be treasured.