Album review Scottish albums


Suspire have been tinkering away on the edges of Glasgow’s synth-pop scene for some time now. Renowned for their DIY approach, the band’s self-titled debut album was part funded through fans and a successful Pledge Music campaign. Comprising of Paul Duffin on vocals, Clare Duffin on drums, Brian Cunningham on vocals and bass and Chris Kelly on guitar, the band have been gaining support thanks in large part to singles such as ‘Salvation Sister’ and ‘Dodos’. The former released three years ago, a fact testament to the long hard slog the band have been on, in order to get to this album. Thankfully though, it’s been time well spent and Suspire offer up a debut, released on September 8th, which is smart, cohesive and packed full of 80s inspired melodies.

There’s much to revel in amongst the ten tracks on offer, with album opener Sleep being a good case in point – Paul Duffin’s vocals compliment the quirky electronic rhythms brilliantly, whilst the chorus settles into a more sumptuous sound, complete with tambouring rattles and guitar picking. But it’s the evolution of the track in its final half which excites most. Instrumentally rich in sound, it promises much for what’s to come.

Lead single ‘On A Clear Day’ – think Summer with a heavy electronic vibe – picks up the baton nicely and keeps running with it but it’s ‘Salvation Sister’ (produced by Echo and The Bunnymen’s Gordy Goudie) that leaves the biggest mark in the first half of proceedings. Instrumentally sparser than other songs on the album, the simpler dynamics and darker tones lend themselves well to the 80s undercurrent that stretches through the fabric of the record.

What becomes apparent is that whatever the side of Suspire’s music on offer – be it the straight up 4/4 rhythms of ‘Yes!’ or the clean guitar strums of ‘Abigail’ – it all sounds fresh, indulgent and interesting. ‘Hold On’ and ‘Catalyst’ probably yield the least musically but it all ends on a high. ‘Little Kid Strange’ makes the most of those backing vocals that have been angling for superiority throughout, whilst Dodos throws out rockier shapes but still maintains its synth sensibilities.

Suspire have delivered a debut full of quirky ideas. With a musical aesthetic which is uniquely theirs, it’s a record which evolves as it’s played yet still manages to conclude on a cohesive denouement. Suspire aren’t following a trend, or tagging onto the end of whatever scene happens to be hip in the current Glasgow music scene and thank heavens for that. They don’t need to, they’re doing just fine on their own.

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