Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr “3attam Babey” is the closing track of Suuns and Jerusalem in My Heart, and it’s emblematic of the limitations the eponymous bands encounter during their half-hour-plus collaboration. The bulk of its nearly nine minutes is devoted to a tireless groove in allegro of a piece with Suuns’ Krautrock-cribbing modus operandi. But halfway through and also at the end, the rhythm drops out for soaring Arabic singing. This is the contribution of Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, whose atmospheric tone poems as Jerusalem in My Heart combines his crate-digging efforts at Lebanese street markets with traditional Middle Eastern instrumentation. The two are hardly incompatible: the dronish modes of Arabic folk music, alongside Indian raga, bore a strong influence on British and American psychedelia, which in turn informed the long-form experimentation of German acts like Neu! and Faust, some of Suuns’ more obvious forebears. And appropriately enough, “3attam Babey” conceals its seams in psychedelic reverb. The merger of Suuns’ deceptively single-minded tirelessness and Moumneh’s spacious, haunting interjections make for a solid headphones trip. But neither here, nor anywhere else on Suuns and Jerusalem in My Heart, does either Montreal-based band exceed a Wikipedia summary of their sound. The result is rarely more than a sum of its parts, and often less. The call-and-response-structured “Metal” navigates the same problem, but less successfully. Variations on an Arabesque theme are divvied into couplets traded between Suuns fuzzy guitar and a buzuq. It’s an “Ebony and Ivory” for the starless horizons of Canadian indie rock: convivial and vaguely utopic, but conceptually threadbare. Tracks like this convey a mutual geniality without exploring what these bands could sound like as a unit. They’re more surefooted when one band is allowed to dominate over the other—Suuns on “2amoutu I7tirakan” and “Gazelles in Flight,” JIMH on “Self” and “Leyla”—but none of these quite measure up to each band’s independent best, although the tense, propulsive opener “2amoutu I7tirakan” comes close. Perhaps the finest moment belongs to “In Touch.” An arid, intimate guitar and plaintive, reverberated vocal, just ever-so-slightly out of step, float atop a steady, bottom-heavy modular synth pulse. It’s at once proximate and cold, organic and mechanical, assured and agoraphobic. Yet even here, potential remains untapped. Suuns and Jerusalem in My Heart is the product of nearly five years on the backburner, and the chrome-plated Silver Apples sound of “In Touch” refers to an approach Suuns took before their most recent album, 2013’s sleekly flamboyant and thoroughly underappreciated Images du Futur. In a perfect world, Moumneh’s expansive tape-loop collages would fill out the hooky austerity of Images and amount to something, at the very least, like a diasporic, dystopian Stereolab. Instead, Suuns and Jerusalem in My Heart is, at worst, tokenizing—especially of Moumneh, whose parts all too easily scan as attempts to spice up Western rock with surface-level non-Western mystique—and at best, a low-stakes, expendable one-off.