Sister Suvi – Now I Am Champion

August 3, 2009

Sister Suvi consists of Patrick Gregoire (also member of Islands) on guitar and vocals, Merrill Garbus (who earlier this year released a very nice album under the name of Tune-Yards) on ukule, violin, and vocals, and Nico Dann (I don’t know what else he’s done) on drums and vocals.
Sister Suvi can be kind of noisy, like Deerhoof, and kind of abstract, like High Places.  But as the brief introduction above suggests, they’re also like of like mid-to-late-1970s-era Fleetwood Mac, in that they have three vocalists, each of whom brings his or her own unique style to the mix, making the whole much larger than the sum of its parts.  And a bit like Sonic Youth, too, in that yes they like to experiment, but never miss a chance to really rock out either.
All of that comes together with great effect on “Now I Am Champion,” their first official full-length release.  “The Lot” is the centerpiece/masterpiece on this disk, weaving a story of a nighttime bike ride through the dark streets of Montreal and ending with a wonderfully stunning three-part a’capella. But other standouts include “Claymation,” about clay animation gone awry, and “American,” a meditation on good intentions and the road they’ve paved.
“Now I Am Champion” provides the perfect mix of light and dark and the perfect mix of surprise and accessibility.

suviSister Suvi consists of Patrick Gregoire (also a member of Islands) on guitar and vocals, Merrill Garbus (who earlier this year released a very nice album under the name of Tune-Yards) on ukulele, violin, and vocals, and Nico Dann (to be honest, I don’t know what else he’s done, but I’m sure it’s something equally impressive) on drums and vocals.

Sister Suvi can be kind of noisy, like Deerhoof, and kind of abstract, like High Places. But as the brief introduction above suggests, they’re also a bit like mid-to-late-1970s-era Fleetwood Mac, in that they have three vocalists, each of whom brings his or her own unique style to the mix, making the whole much larger than the sum of its parts. And a bit like Sonic Youth, too, in that yes they like to experiment, but never miss a chance to really rock out either.

All of that comes together with great effect on “Now I Am Champion,” their first official full-length release. “The Lot” is the centerpiece/masterpiece on this disk, weaving a story of a nighttime bike ride through the dark streets of Montreal and ending with a wonderfully stunning three-part a’capella. But other standouts include “Claymation,” a song about clay animation gone awry, and “American,” a meditation on good intentions and the road they’ve paved. Check the band’s myspace page for a couple of those examples and more. Or see below for “The Lot” performed live.

“Now I Am Champion” provides the perfect blend of light and dark and of surprise and accessibility. Definitely one of the year’s best.

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