Two Become One
The Suuns and Jerusalem in My Heart project went through several stages, typical of a collaboration between two groups. Suuns, a Montreal-based band and their good friends from Jerusalem in My Heart simply shared a studio session to record a few tracks in 2012. That session turned into a full album; the groups then announced a European fall tour they will be co-headlining.
Appropriately self-titled, this record is a study in the way the creativity of two separate entities can combine. Luckily for Suuns and Jerusalem in My Heart, the album works. It may not be for everyone, as it sports drones and synth courtesy of Jerusalem in My Heart and the grinding musicality typical of Suuns, but it definitely is a unique and engaging listen.
The album opens with “2amoutu 17tirakan” which is about as confusing as its title. Featuring glitchy static and uplifting arpeggios that descend into deep, bass-y synth and guitar, it is about as paradoxical as you can get without time-traveling. “Metal,” the next track, lives up to its name. Though it’s not inspired by the musical genre, one gets the idea this song could go through the car crusher at a local junkyard and come out the other end unscathed.
Mercifully, we get a break with “Self.” It’s interesting, it has a great hook and a wonderful balance of synth, vocals and traditional instruments. It’s just fun to listen to. Unfortunately, “In Touch,” the track that immediately follows, is not nearly as intriguing.
“Gazelles In Flight” is worth mentioning for several reasons: it begins with what sounds like street drumming (plastic buckets and all!), its beat isn’t a grating pulse like the aforementioned “In Touch,” and it has horns. Trumpets. “Gazelles In Flight” is probably the coolest track on this record, because the risks taken just work.
“Leyla,” the next track, feels very intimate. The vocals sound like a letter, but the listener can’t really tell whether it is love or loss. The song is soft and much, much quieter than the rest of the album. “Leyla” is definitely one of the better tracks, worthy of repeat listens. In fact, “Leyla” seems to be the real ending of this collaboration because “3attam Babey” isn’t particularly special and feels more like filler than anything else.
This “meeting of the minds” (or creative spirits) is riveting in places. Mostly it struggles to find a middle ground. But when it does? Magic happens.