Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Sometimes bands just dont last. Sister Suvi, a three-piece that came to us from out of the lands of Canada, disbanded with a final performance at the Pop Montreal festival last fall and that wreckage came not dramatically, but likely as naturally as could have been predicted. First you have Islands member Patrick Gregoire on guitar and vocals and then you have a young woman Merrill Garbus recently relocated to the Bay Area in California whose other project tUnE-YarDs has been steeped some highly complimentary plaudits from critics and discerning music slobs worldwide over the past year with the release of Bird-Brains and Bird-Droppings. Priorities actually start to be prioritized when time becomes even more of a limited and encroached upon resource. Sister Suvi, the band in question here, is a conglomeration of disparate and oddly configured interests, making for a deliriously eccentric and entertaining ride through a tropical jungle encouraging us to blurt stream of consciousness poetry as we follow the conga line past the riddling and prism-like actions of guitar and ukulele, as well as busy and bright, ass-shaking drum beats. This three-piece makes (or made) music that seemed to come out of some hidden away emerald city or a place of imagination that exists very privately, but when it gets loose, it gets loose in a funky way. At times, for instance in the song Deadwood, there is a moment when its as if weve found the dance party just outside the gates of hell, with eternal damnation still a few paces off in the distance and theres one last chance to hook up with a chick in an interesting haircut and bicep tattoos or a dude with a mistake of a haircut, a Bart Simpson tee-shirt bought by someone other than him during the promotional blitz for season four of the series and sunglasses that never come off through all of the acid taking or anything else. These three young people seem to just flow through their ideas with the grace of awkward adventurers, stopping and starting as if running into a thick swarm of hovering mosquitoes or a trap of invisible spider webbings draping between the trees and the bushes. The music is brisk and sunny and slightly damaged, as the words that Gregoire and Garbus (the band is completed by drummer Nico Dann) sing are hurtled and sung with some kind of urban foundation, where they feel of the moment and almost antagonistic and slightly preposterous and absurd as they could fly off the handle and smack you squarely across the face with the strangest non-sequitur imaginable. Its Garbus singing almost mocking and threatening in a way on Violence, Wild Thing, Violence in the Congo/Violence in Nigeria/I stole your music/Have a REAL good time Friday night/I killed a man/I shot him/I shot him. She makes it sound like Jim Morrison ripped out of his mind, talking about allowing someone to scrape her heart out and her face off, wailing about shooting that man. Its bizarre and yet, so, so danceable and thats the way it goes with Sister Suvi never letting anything be too serious, even if it is. We hear Gregoire use the line of lyric, It takes 73 days to make a creature out of clay, and he very well could be referring to something he heard about the California Raisins on an episode of I Love The 80s. And its the way that they roll, giving us this citrus-y feeling, this lounging in a sun-splashed afternoon while still feeling like youre living in one of Hunter S. Thompsons gonzo scenes and theres no getting out.
Sister Suvi MySpace Page