It’s hard to know exactly how to quantify what SUSS is — but that just makes this band’s distinct sonic journey all the better.
Released in February of this year, SUSS’s debut album Ghost Box was an odd choice for an ambient album: it was at turns rustic, lived-in, acutely melodic, and indelibly composed — all of the sounds being made by a live band with a bit of a country bent. Comprising of members Pat Irwin, Bob Holmes, Gary Leib, Jonathan Gregg, and William Garrett, SUSS makes cinematic and emotional soundscapes not too far removed from the guitar stylings of Mark McGuire, but with a twist and attitude all their own. With Gregg as a full-time pedal steel player and the rest of the band working with guitars and other instruments, the group’s live-band approach has made them stand out in the ambient/instrumental scene, which is in part why they’ve already racked up millions upon millions of streams.
So to celebrate the “Deluxe Edition” relaunch of Ghost Box on Northern Spy Records replete with new songs, of course), the band are premiering the video for “Steam”, a song exclusive to the new edition. “‘Steam’ explores the darker side of the high lonesome sound,” Holmes said of the new cut. With a video directed by SUSS keyboardist and art director Gary Leib, the video uses stock footage and a few live clips to create a surreal visual landscape that is locked into an older mindset of what the future would be like, at once making you pine for a more idealistic time while also pointing to what our fears were back then.
It’s a cryptic cut of seemingly unrelated images, but these shots gain a bit more contrasting gravitas when pressed against the band’s minor-key sound. It’s a unique visual starter for a band who themselves are just getting started as what may be the new champions of ambient/instrumental music.