Montréal rock band SUUNS announced the release of their upcoming album, The Witness, which is set for September 3 via Joyful Noise Recordings. They shared the lead single from the LP, “Witness Protection,” along with a music video for the track.
“Minding my own business/I saw it from a distance,” frontman Ben Shemie begins the single, singing with digitally-manipulated vocals. A keyboard part blinks repetitively while bassist Max Henry and drummer Liam O’Neill keep a tight rhythm underneath for most of the recording. Shimmering guitar chords come in later in the song while Shemie sings the late-song refrain, “I need witness protection, I do/And I know that you’ve seen it too.”
The music video hints at a possible meaning for the song by showing actress Pauline Benguigui staring blankly while a television flashes indistinct images with vibrant colors, potentially suggesting that the things the persona witnesses are on TV. However, the band didn’t confirm the song’s meaning, and the video is as vague as the music, with Benguigui acting hypnotized while moving through strange poses.
The Witness will be the follow-up to SUUNS’ somewhat experimental 2018 full-length Felt and their 2020 EP Fiction. It will be their fifth studio album, not including a 2015 collaboration with esoteric Arabic-folk outfit Jerusalem in My Heart. Shemie, Henry, O’Neill and guitarist Joe Yarmush formed the group in 2007.
Yarmush commented on the upcoming record. “It was a conscious decision to make the album sound like one song,” he says. “We wanted to calm down a bit, even during the mixing process: our notes were simply ‘you have to settle down’. I couldn’t technically explain what I meant by that, but the songs needed to settle down. We were basically trying to hold back all the bombastic tendencies and make things sound very subtle.”
Shemie added, “There’s always this restraint in SUUNS: the question of ‘how long can we hold off? I think it’s beautiful that way because it always brings out something unexpected. But if you’re willing to stick with us – at a show or through our music in general – it will pay off. It might take a while to get there, but we will drop a beat for you eventually. I love that we’ve been able to stick to the minimal side of things, and just let it breathe.”
The Witness Tracklist:
1. Third Stream
2. Witness Protection
6. The Fix
7. Go To My Head
8. The Trilogy