"Doomed." "China Heart." "Decline." The song titles on Santi Suede's China Heart read like an ending, an acceptance of the fact that the ship is going down, so we might as well get comfortable. But Suede reminds us to look on the bright side, the new beginnings that accompany every burnout. We might be doomed, but it could make for some great art.
That said, China Heart is hardly a political record. It just so happens that the EP's primary themes can be relevant to both heartbreak and late capitalism. "Everyone is pretty much in agreement that it's the end times," he says. "I wanted to make songs that acknowledged that, but then looked toward ways to find positivity and hope. Without hope you lose your motivation."
The New York-born, Philadelphia-based songwriter moved south for a job last year, drawn to the city's emerging reputation for ground-level musical innovation in rock and electronica. "I feel like going to see your friend's band is more of a common social thing [in Philadelphia]," Suede says. "There are less huge acts. There's more room to grow and meet people." The result is a collection of songs both daring and tender, dipping into multiple genres while staying centered around Suede's nuanced, easter egg-laden production. Songs like "Never Evergreen," "$$," and "Total Control" range from punk to uplifting folk, a series of influences gleaned from playing in college punk bands and the 2016 EP Loosen Up.
It's an intoxicating cocktail of sounds, and Suede holds things together by keeping his listeners guessing. Stream China Heart below, watch the video for "Doomed" here, and catch Santi Suede in New York at The Glove on March 2.