On their fifth album in a decade, Secretly Canadian band Suuns opt for a beautifully produced psych-rock album. Felt is stained by a looming, 11-track-long melancholy, one that is never quite shaken through its grave terrain. Despite this drab overarching mood, strong danceable moments emerge to create a truly unique art-rock experience.
Though it draws on multiple genres for inspiration, most of Felt slickly layers Ben Shemmie’s syrupy vocals over shards of vaguely-punk instrumentals. Dreary, lo-fi drums pound on the opener “Look No Further,” as a deceptively thin-sounding guitar rips past lyrics about the old rocks and dry clay of Canada (it makes sense that an album titled Felt would be this tactile). With “Make it Real” and “Peace and Love,” Suuns manage to delve into a poppier palette that would sound on-brand in the Spotify “Undercurrents” playlist. “Watch You, Watch Me” is a maximalist, synth-heavy spotlight that gleams on the surface of the otherwise rough and blackened album. Shoegaze guitars wobble across “After the Fall,” slowly joined by drums and layers of synths, until it comes to a head and falls apart under its own striking weight. Each song on Felt is informed by an almost playful looseness, where even an interlude like “Moonbeams” comes off as All According To The Plan, with its devastating wall of guitar and distant drums. This variety in style is held together by Suuns reintroducing a bleak atmosphere on each song; like a series of passionate odes to something resignedly out of reach.
If you want a potpourri of electronica-by-way-of-art-rock (really, you do), then don’t sleep on Felt. Link below!