(Originally posted here)
Rock music, when done right, will always take us into a netherworld that we never knew existed, but we always somehow felt was within ourselves. The cosmos of inescapable rhythm, in-your-face melody and words, all speak simple truths that perhaps we couldn’t speak for ourselves. Austin, TX trio Suspirians summons that netherworld with their sophomore album Ti Bon Ange.
The album title is taken from a Haitian voodoo term that translates literally to “little good angel” — the part of one’s soul that holds one’s individuality and personal qualities, which leaves the body when sleeping so you can dream. It’s a title quite befitting of the experience listening to Ti Bon Ange, where listeners become immersed in a sound, not just casually attending to it.
From the first notes of the album, throughout its 7-song, 40 minute duration it’s clear that Suspirians aim to deconstruct rock in a way that’s both psychedelic and mysterious as much as it’s direct, infectious and powerful. Guitarist/vocalist Marisa Pool, bassist/keyboardist Stephanie Demopulos and drummer Lisa Cameron craft songs that shape-shift from part to part rather than follow traditional verse-chorus-verse structure. It’s a wall of guitars and subtle synth layers, vocals drenched in reverb and on the brink of feedback, powerful and open drumming that allows the songs to flow like molten lava without ever sounding lethargic. Points of reference bridge a wide array of psychedelic, punk and experimental sounds: Pylon, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Stooges first album, Frightwig, early Butthole Surfers, Roky Erickson & The Aliens, late 70s British post-punk and more.
“We would end up getting lost in the songs together in a sort of epic fever dream,” Pool says. “We did not overthink or over control anything on this record. It was all about going with the flow and following our instincts.” Suspirians’ self-titled debut album — with original drummer Anna Lamphear — was comparatively a more straightforward and garagey affair. Pool and Demopulos began experimenting with their sound soon after and with the addition of Cameron, they collectively found the aesthetic they were after. Cameron’s extensive musical history — having played with the legendary Roky Erickson, as well as celebrated Austin psych band ST37 and other improv/noise projects — helped the band expand its vision. Suspirians’ former synth player Sheila Scoville also guested on the recording.
Ti Bon Ange was recorded at 5th Street Studios with engineer Evan Kleinecke, while the band was still navigating their way through the nascent songs. “We had some raw and powerful basic tracks to bounce off of and the rest of the time was just having fun playing really loud and experimenting,” Pool says. The results are equally as deliberate and completely free as groundbreaking rock’n’roll should be.
Ti Bon Ange will be available on LP, CD and download on June 9th via Super Secret Records and is available for pre-order through here.
Listen to Ti Bon Ange in full here: