STAGE TIMES >>>
DOORS – 7:30pm
ILK – 8:30pm
SUUNS – 9:30pm
From the beginning, Suuns (you pronounce it “soons”, and it translates as “zeroes” in Thai) have sought to do things differently. They formed in Montreal 2007, when singer/guitarist Ben Shemie and guitarist Joe Yarmush got together to work on some demos, soon to be joined by Liam, Ben’s old schoolfriend, on drums and Max Henry on synth. Their group’s first two records, 2010’s Zeroes QC and 2012’s Polaris Prize-nominated Images Du Futur – both released on Secretly Canadian – were immediate critical hits, and Suuns soon found themselves part of a late ’00s musical renaissance in the city, alongside fellow groups like The Besnard Lakes, Islands and Land Of Talk. Still, at the same time, Suuns feel remote from the big, baroque ensembles and apocalyptic orchestras that typify the Montreal scene. “We write quite minimal music,” thinks Ben. “They’re not traditional song forms, sometimes they don’t really go anywhere – but they have their own kind of logic.” Or as Joe puts it: “It’s pop music, but sitting in this evil space.”
You can hear freedom flowing through the 11 tracks on Felt. Self-produced then mixed to audiophile perfection by St Vincent producer John Congleton, it maintains a pleasing economy, the informality of self-production has enabled Suuns to explore bright new vistas – the hypnotic future-pop percolations of X-ALT or Watch You, Watch Me’s organic/synthetic rush of elevatory rhythms and the ecstatic, Harmonia-meets-Game Boy patterns. Never mere fusionists, it’s now pointless trying to decode their sonic signature as ‘dance music that rocks’ or vice versa. Ben Shemie has a newfound vocal range and a penchant for buoyant melodies, showcased in such wholly unexpected delights as the yearning lilt of Make It Real and sax-smoothed Peace And Love, which sincerely comes on like a post-punk Sade. The suitably outré image for Felt – a hand reaching out to touch a giant latex black inflated ball – breaks with Suuns’ earlier darkness for a more optimistic ambience. The record’s playful atmosphere is echoed by its double meaning title.
Finally returning to London since their 2016 show at Rich Mix, join Suuns at Scala for their biggest London headline!
Ilk‘s unique process creates a joyous mix of rich loop-based psych-pop and sonic exploration, which fuses effortlessly with live instrumentation to create a hazy and colourful soundscape laced with catchy melodies. It is at once playful and rhythmical, upbeat and melancholic, jagged and soft. As a result Ilk’s debut album, Y U, plays out as a captivating journey that manages to remain ever familiar on a path that’s new.
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Tickets £15 +bf adv.
275 Pentonville Rd, Kings Cross, London, N1 9NL