“Ten Love Songs” is Susanne Sundfor’s 6th album and, her best. By far.
The first track “Darlings”, is short and doleful; opening with a strong, accordionised synth, it is the perfect vocal stepping stone from her last production, “The Silicone Veil”.
Things quickly ramp up an electronic notch with the dark, sombre, heavy sound of “Accelerate” –
“Bear the cross
Die for Love
Kill for Love”
“Beautiful Dreamer” it ain’t. After 3.30 minutes it sweeps into an organ blast that wouldn’t be out of place in “The Phantom of the Opera”. The song lives up to it’s title, sonically and volume wise, accelerating to a crescendo of screaming synths, pulsating electronics and, throbbing guitar, which move seamlessly into next track, “Fade Away”. Released back in December as the first single from the album, it has an altogether lighter tone and vocal.
The pace then slows right down with the acoustic openings of the angelic “Silencer” which has an almost dreamlike quality. Packed with strikingly expressive strings, it finales with a pitch-perfect crystalline falsetto. “Kamikaze” is a captivating tune of disco beats sweeping the vocal amongst twinkling musical stars.
“Higher and higher
Tonight is the night that we might fall together”.
The quiet bang of a gong at the end, is briefly followed by what sounds, for all intents and purposes like a JS Bach composition for the cembalo (#harpsichord). Quaint. The mournful “Memorial”, opens up with a celestial choral. Awash with funereal organ music and harmonious voice crossing, it transcends into a sublime mini sinfonia after four or so minutes. With it’s magnificent sonic upwards trajectory, this enthralling movement of classical lightness, almost pastoral in quality, contains sparkling piano playing and an enchanting string sequence. It is musical deliciousness and an amazing and brave inclusion in what would be categorised by most as an electro-pop album. Astounding! Ten minutes of Sundfor orchestral manoeuvres which is the sonic and lyrical highlight of the album.
We’re back to basics with “Delirious” which kicks off with an electronic vortex and more punchy vocals; the end result is text book Depeche Mode, sampling snappy electronic snares, sweeping chord progressions, heavy synth layering and texturing, all the hallmarks of their darker more luscious productions.
The mood lifts a little with “Slowly” – light, airy, poppy, it has a pleasing vocal, with mellow harmonies and an easy beat. It’s probably one of the more mainstream true “pop songs” of the track-list.
“I can feel it
In the way you hold me
And in your heartbeat
I know you’re lonely”
We are pulled down into the abyss with “Trust Me” a song which would make a great film soundtrack – melodramatic, slow, it is quietly anthemic, a bit one woman and her harmonium, with a clear statement to make.
“You cannot erase me
You cannot replace me”
The album ends with “Insects” is electro-psychedelia gone viral. “We’re having fun” and it sounds like Sundfor indeed had a lot of fun putting this pulsating trance menagerie together. It’s a strong ending to a musically diverse and well articulated album.
“Ten Love Songs” took the themes of violence and love (in it’s various forms and guises) and, speaking of the record’s intentions, Sundfør has said:
“To me, love isn’t always what it seems. When I first started to work on the album, I wanted to make an album about violence, and then, as I was writing the songs, there were violent aspects, but they were usually about love or relationships, how you connect with other people. And in the end, that turned out to be 10 love songs… people try to describe their emotions with numbers today, and in terms of science, which I feel is like the religion of today. It is very taboo to be a vulnerable person. It’s almost like the biggest weakness today is to be a human being, because everything around us is about perfection, as if we’re trying to be like robots.”
“Ten Loves Songs” runs the gamut of “the emotions of love” – despair, torture, frustration, bliss and elation; powered by a wide as it’s deep sonic diversity. Unique, quirky, both understanding and in your face, it is architecturally superb. Technically brilliant, it is a masterpiece created by an uninhibited imagination, and, untamed talent.
Highly recommended, one of the albums of the year, 9/10.
Ten Love Songs is out on general release now.
Also available on i Tunes here – https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ten-love-songs/id932429221
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