(Photo Credit - Will Lew)
Album Review - SUUNS: The Witness (September 3, 2020)
I wanted to sit down and write a review of Suuns’ The Witness after the first listen. However, my head gets pulled in many different directions, and my plan did not work. Instead, I had to listen to it again and again, and I did not find my thesis until I read an article on Halsey.
In an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Halsey pointed to something Trent Reznor told her.
“The way a lot of modern music is right now is it informs the listener to not pay attention. It says, this song is safe. You can put it on a playlist. You can listen to it in a car. You can play it at a party, and it’s not going to fuck up the vibe. It blends in with everything else. It’s a mood. It’s chill. But it informs you not to pay attention.”
She goes on to say that he told her that she deserves better, and people should pay attention to what she’s saying. Halsey’s If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is a review for another day, but I like that quote because I think it also relates to The Witness. Suuns have something to say, and people should pay attention.
In my initial write, I laid out The Witness as a soundtrack in Three Acts. Although I still believe that stands, I want to point out that some of the choices Suuns made, while maybe not “weird,” lay outside of one’s typical comfort zone. The timing, the pace, the lyrics, and Ben Shemie’s voice create an atmosphere that will not blend into everything else. If any song from The Witness pops up on a playlist, the vibe will most definitely change. And that is not bad. It will get the attention of the listeners.
Sometimes in reviews, I go song by song. However, in this one, I am just going to say it is an album, and you should sit down and listen to it all the way through. Soundwise, I am reminded of The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, and Pink Floyd. The music is heady but not heavy; It is epic but not grandiose. Suuns find the right balance of importance without taking themselves too seriously. And that is a great in-between.
Final Thoughts: This review may seem vague, and I will give you that. It is. However, I am still working through this album and my thoughts on it. A lot is going on, and I can appreciate its complexity. This album will make my top ten of 2021 list, and it is so good, it may even move further up by year’s end.
Favorite Songs: “Witness Protection,” “Timebender,” and “The Fix”
Rating - 4.9 out of 5 - This is a pivotal album for this band. Talk to me in a year; it may be 5 out of 5