At first listen, Massive Attack and Sunna would seem to have little in common. However, Jon Harris played guitar on Massive Attack's Mezzanine, and now the band's label, Melankolic, has released the debut disc of Harris' band, Sunna. Trip-hop this isn't: One Minute Science offers nearly 50 atmospheric minutes that run the gamut between contemplative aching and discordant noise. This is uneasy listening at its most intriguing.
This London-based quintet fearlessly explores these diverse musical moods, seemingly without caring whether they complement or conflict with one another. Metallic pounding throbs against pensive interludes, bluesy longing gives way to harsh, unforgiving groans. While this disc is dark to be sure, it's far too aggressive to be truly gloomy. While "I Miss" apparently luxuriates in its own depression, check out the opening words: "I miss hate, I miss war, I miss killing people, and I miss the point." Then there's "O.D.," which juxtaposes warmth against a lyrical feeling of suffocation. And Sunna is certainly not without a twisted sense of humor -- the appropriately named "Power Struggle" begins and ends with a loop that sounds like flies buzzing.
Just about every song on this CD offers something sonically special, whether it's ripping shreds of electronic noise, hard-hitting riffs, a comforting ambiance, or just Harris' pleasantly ragged vocals. It's an impressively moody debut, an alluring invitation to play on the nether side of life.