Suspirians’ self-titled album is one of the most impressive debut releases to come out of the local Austin scene this year. In just seven tracks, Suspirians covers a wide range of styles from post-punk to psychedelic, garage and even noise rock. It is a very successful first offering and a great representation of the eclectic local punk scene forming in Austin right now.
The tight drums and punchy, picked bass of Susprians are reminiscent of that classic ’80’s post-punk sound, consistently driving you through the tight twists and turns of each track. Two of the albums poppier moments, “In My Time” and “Whatcha Do,” lean towards the sounds of post-punk greats Siouxsie and the Banshees or Pylon, but are still full of Suspirians’ own flavor. Pop melodies that appear at the start have a tendency to evolve over the duration of these songs into dark jams saturated in guitar feedback, keys, some horns or even just plain noise.
The guitar work and use of noise on this album complete the Suspirians’ sound, colliding the post-punk rhythms with the texture of psychedelic rock. While the rhythm guitar stays in crunchy-clean punk territory, the leads soar over the track in a sea of surfed out reverb and distortion in a way that blends in with the added foggy noise. The leads on “Cicada” shift between minimal post-punk to surf riffage to hazy, fuzzed out tones that remind me of Destruction Unit-level noise psych. “Buddy Holly” starts off sounding like a happily bratty Black Lips garage rock jam before escalating both the tempo and energy quickly and driving the song into a mess of noise and guitar – the good kind of mess.
Of course, the vocals are an integral part of Suspirians style as well. Marissa Pool lets her vocals cover a wide range of influences- passionately singing the brash 80’s pop melodies one moment and screaming punk chants the next. At other times, like parts of “Vulture” or “Echo,“ Pool shows off a gothic side sounding too-cool-for-school-esque bored with herself. I even hear some moments on “Sirens” where Pool’s voice reminds me of Kim Deal on some Breeders’ recordings.
In the midst of an over-saturated local punk scene, Suspirians stand out on their debut. Their sound is a combination of punk attitude and psychedelic noise that is both unique and completely successful. If you have not heard the album, you should. If you have not seen them live, you definitely should. With local punk, you never know who is going to stick around for a while and Suspirians are not something you want to miss. Although, this writer has a feeling that they will be highly present in Austin and will continue to grow.