Suuns, ‘Images Du Futur’ – Album Review
In the two-and-a-half years since Montreal’s Suuns released 'Zeroes QC' -- a focused debut album that deserved more attention -- the music landscape has noticeably shifted. Much of the “indie rock” world is suddenly struggling to maintain relevance after years of continually broadening its audience, and bands without established scenes face an uphill battle, as they're often tagged “unimportant,” regardless of their skill, creativity or energy.
Groups like Suuns that struggled to gain an audience during indie’s feast years should be pushing as hard as possible in hope of engaging the short memories, and even shorter attention spans, of both fans and critics. This makes the band's sophomore effort, 'Images Du Futur,' a frustrating experience. The album picks up directly where 'Zeroes QC' left off, so much so that they could have been recorded in tandem. That would be forgivable if 'Zeroes' had found the appreciation and fans it deserved, but more of the same reads as complacent. Seeing as how Clinic has yet to become a trendy influence and maximalism is much more fashionable than the tense, unsettling palette Suuns use, this album is likely to slip under the radar just like its predecessor.
'Images Du Futur' lacks anything as accessible as past standouts 'PVC' or 'Up Past the Nursery,' and it fails to offer the adventurous leap that 'Sweet Nothing' previously provided. Still, at its strongest, the album constructs vivid portraits through the listener's sound associations. '2020' plays like a paranoid balloon being inflated and deflated to the point that it can’t tell whether simply popping would be better than weathering the uncertainty. “Mirror Mirror” is a conveyor belt to a meat grinder or saw blade or wood chipper, and the dread of winding up in an aluminum can permeates the four desolate minutes.
This bleakness made previous stints opening for Crystal Castles and Handsome Furs fitting. But where Suuns best work hints at what Spoon would sound like if they were overwhelmed by impending doom, too many of the songs never develop. The instrumental title track 'Holocene City,' 'Minor Work' and 'Edie’s Dream' all come across as filler shuffled in to disguise a lack of ideas.
This is disappointing, considering that such tunes as 'Bambi' and 'Powers of Ten' suffer from too many moving parts. For a band that proudly wears the “experimental” badge, the moments on 'Images Du Futur' that feel truly new are few and far between. The result is an album that might satisfy those already caught in Suuns’ web but will disappoint those looking for innovation and growth.