Live Review

Suuns, XOYO, London

Here they’re muscular – tighter, slicker than before.

We wait for Suuns to take the stage. As the lights go down and the basement of XOYO is plunged into pitch darkness, a song of Middle Eastern origins that burrows itself in your head blares out of the soundsystem. It goes on longer than you think it should do, stringing out the tension and setting up an intensity and a mood that lasts the whole show.

It’s an effect that Suuns have perfected. Tonight’s show is a lesson in creating dramatic tensions, locking into a groove and staying on it. More than they do on their hypnotising, wiry records here they’re muscular – tighter, slicker than before with the rhythm section coming even more to the fore.

Outside the rain is beating down, the English summer seemingly over before it’s even begun, and Suuns induce that feeling of stormy explosions, a torrent of fuzzy guitars and electronics creates an intensity which drips from the ceiling.

‘Images du Futur’ is one of the best albums of the year so far and the show starts with some of that album’s strongest tracks: ‘Music Won’t Save You’, ‘Powers Of Ten’ and ‘2020’ are about merging industrial throb and layered guitar squalls which at times feeling like they’re being played backwards. The upbeat drums and dreamy chants of ‘Sunspot’ keep pushing it forward, offering a sort of woozy relief before halfway through turning into motorik odysseys.

Though at times the venue’s sound doesn’t do the intricacies of some of these tracks justice, the band’s telepathic understanding of how to find a groove and fix in on it is mesmerising. Looking around the room the normal pose appears to be eyes closed and nodding heads. There’s even some dancing when ‘Arena’s’ propulsive electronics kick in.

‘Edie’s Dream’ goes on a little too long, outstaying its welcome and winding the mood down a little too far, yet tracks like ‘Minor Work’ and ‘Mirror Mirror’ push things forward again, splicing visceral riffs together with synths.

They encore with tracks from ‘Zeroes QC’ and as ‘Gaze’ cascades into a cacophony of electronics and guitar squall, frontman Ben spits and snarls ‘Don’t you be yourself, you are someone else,’ we’re lucky there’s only one, genuine Suuns.

Tags: Suuns, Features

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