The idea behind Stories is that instead of doing the typical blog album review, I’ll write a short story that comes from what I think about while listening to the album and possibly taking from the lyrics. The first Story was on Olenka and the Autumn Lover’s And Now We Sing.
I’ve been meaning to write this story for months and months now. Suun’s album Zeroes QC was on my top 2010 list, and it continues to fascinate me in new ways every time I listen to it. It’s haunting, thrilling, mysterious and soothing. It’s one of those albums that hypnotizes you into this edgy trance; you’re really confused, but you’re so interested to see where this will end up. This album is one of the coolest things I’ve heard in a long time. I can only really listen to it at night, hearing these notes in the sunlight somehow feels strange. I’ve based this story on parts of my neighborhood and how it becomes strange at night in some areas. Meet Evan, a lost soul who takes hours after a late shift to explore what is not his, but it consumes him nonetheless.
Whereas the Olenka story was mainly based on one song, this one goes through the course of the entire album. If you have it, familiarize yourself with it, get into the itchy, dogged screams of the guitars and maddening electronics. Seep into the soft, droning spots of realizations. If you are not familiar, I will post a few points for you to play throughout the story.
Let’s start with the album’s opener, “Armed for Peace.”
Evan is awake. Awake as he’ll ever be. Or at least he thinks that every night when he gets off his shift. At two in the morning, he locks up the old church in a residential neighborhood downtown he’s security for and officially leaves his night post. He doesn’t envy the guy who has to take the next shift. He spends his shift cleaning, looking at the stained glass windows in a trance and patrolling. As soon as he leaves, walks down the street, rounds the corner east or west, he’s set free.
Evan has a loose schedule he adheres to for those next few hours: grab a drink at a pub, walk around, people watch, get into some mischief, see the sun come up.
On this particular night, after letting a simple scotch slide down at a pub with just enough distraction going on that lets him sit un-noticed, he heads south into the city’s core. He walks through the dingy Chinatown strip, where night hours are largely host to steeping cans of garbage placed like dominos, dirty wayward drunks and women walking briskly to their destinations at the cleaner end of the street.
Evan lets his stroll stay at a slow tempo, after all, he has nowhere more important to be. But he also likes to saunter on so he can catch any kind of conversation. He passes two ragged, older men cooking up a sinister plot that involved the words “her” and “it’s only music.” As he progressed a few more blocks, he heard a homeless woman mumble to herself “pick me up, pick me up again” as she rested under a fruit store’s stand.
Anyone else might find these happenstances much more uncomfortable, but Evan takes them and makes it into something he can learn from. “Don’t you be yourself, you are someone else,” he told himself.
These hours are for him to get into a more risqué mindset, dirty, he feels one with the grunge film covering to the sidewalks of the city.
His pace quickens once he writes his name on a shop’s wall in a sprawl. His pulse is racing by this point as he breaks into a jog, thinking about where he will end up. His ears start to clog with the wind he speeds through and sirens echo in the distance. If he had a soundtrack to this, it would be full of high-pitched electric guitars just shredding themselves into pieces and somehow still sounding melodic. His pulse starts to feel electric on its own.
He’s made it far by now, almost by the harbourfront. He often ends up by the cold, cold water where the warehouses are run by seedy characters he sometimes bumps into and watches what kind of work they do or havoc they cause. As cliché as it sounds though, watching the sun come up while on a city’s waterfront is a thrilling sight for Evan. He’s on the tip of this particular pocket of civilization and nobody knows it. He may do it all again the next night, but every time there’s a different story.
Evan’s satisfied with this sunrise. He resumes his run back north, back home, to sleep the morning haze away and plot which direction he will take after his next shift. With a steady few breaths, he says to himself, “If you can’t get back again you can change the way it is…”
Suuns open for the Black Angels tonight at Lee’s Palace.