It’s Canada Day and the good folk at the Sebright Arms have had the foresight to mark the occasion by booking Suuns. Or so it appears on paper, at least: in reality, the gig’s timing is probably pure coincidence, because if you were after an act to instil some festive cheer, selecting Montreal’s premier electronic noiseniks seems a little perverse.
But then, beatific vibes are not what you want from a Suuns gig; what you want are bile-splattered vocals, buzzsaw guitars and basslines that laugh in the face of basic health and safety levels. This is precisely what they deliver.
What’s most striking about tonight’s show is just how much more ferocious they sound live, particularly when showcasing new material: Polaris Prize-longlisted it may be, but it now transpires that Images Du Futur was an album neutered at the mixing desk.
Relatively restrained on record, ‘Bambi’ emerges as a kind of doom-disco, driven by stuttering electronics, razor-sharp rhythms and stabbing guitars note. The once undulating groove of ‘Edie’s Dream’ is now bolstered by heavily-distorted bass and pitchshifted guitars, and embellished with a hypnotic, extended outro. The already lunatic-like, plummeting guitar line on ‘2020’ sounds doubly-demented, like a particularly warped rendition of the “Game Over” noise from a 90s video game, and evoking exactly the same kind of dread.
Tonight’s set culminates in the malevolent minimalism of ‘Pie IX’, Ben Shemi’s eyes-rolling back in his head, his indecipherable intonations mangled and double-tracked. As with the majority of songs preceding it, this one builds to a brain-pounding crescendo and then, with nothing but a quick thank you, we’re all sent reeling, ears ringing, out into the night.