City Beat - Cincinnati, OH - 24 June 2001
While you can't always judge a band by its covers, the trio Suran Song in Stag have chosen some pretty indicative renditions on their latest album, the two-disc Cowboys & Indians, including songs by Gang of Four (the CD cover is styled after that band's legendary Entertainment album), The Pretenders, Duran Duran, The Chills and Throwing Muses. Those touchstones suggest the bands moody, edgy sounds, but this band is far from an '80s tribute act (they even call the covers "sequels"). The band uses no guitars (just effected bass, drums and vocals) and visual art is just as big a part of the band as the music. The group mixes slide projections and "body art" into their concerts and they also have created video interpretations of their songs on their Web site (www.cruelmusic.com). With all of the extras, their music is still incredibly strong, split between aggressive, dirty-bass-driven Post-Punk and, on the second disc, a more ethereal approach that suggests a heavy influence of artists from the seminal 4AD label.