Susto – Susto
Susto’s unique brand of alt.country americana throws away all the cares and worries of the day and invites you in to some carefree times.
Opening with ‘Black River Gospel’, Susto’s sound is immediately established with a strong alt. folk, country/americana feel. Lyrically themes are offered good and early to give an idea of what is likely to be ahead; “Way down in Black River where my family is from / They been working on a building that’s gonna outlast the sun / They’ve been laying bricks / Every time Sunday morning comes / Singing songs about faith and salvation.”
‘Acid Boys’ has some real pop leanings going on, with the vocal veering towards a kind of Fountains Of Wayne sound alongside the driving, swaying instrumentation that could just as easily be a square dance for hipsters.
The religious imagery used by Susto is peppered throughout the album, most notably on ‘Black Jesus’, a kind of journal entry with its introspective assessment of the surrounding people and provocatively calling out “Come on, Black Jesus, come on,” while ‘County Line’ is a real shuffler of a track with its straight ahead drums and bluesy guitars that at times show hints of Pixies and Pavement.
On ‘Dream Girl’ the production is quite beautiful, with a lazy, woozy organ and snapping percussion, and vocals that lean towards early Killers. The lyrics are tightly packed and poetic; “I don’t know why I can’t find a lover / One that I like, one that really feels like home / Say goodbye to my daddy and my mother / To all my friends and my three baby brothers.”
‘Cigarettes, Whiskey & Wine’ has an appropriately smoky aesthetic, all distant and room-echo tinged, and featuring an explosive chorus with a vocal that sounds as if it might pack up at any moment its so gritty, while ‘Friends, Lovers, Ex-lovers…whatever’ takes a basic country format and tweaks it in all kinds of ways, creating a track reminiscent of Wilco.
There are more sedate and acoustic moments too, seen on ‘La Mia’, with its minor notes and bedroom jam vibe, and ‘Vampiro 66’ continues with the laid back feel and morbid lyrics partnered with its catchy earworm of a chorus.
‘Motorcycle Club’ retains the Pixies aesthetic with its echo saturated guitars and dark lyrics “There’s a demon in me in the holy city / I got a demon in me and now he’s running round / I saw a river of blood coming right from the mouth that sucked the life all out of me.”
Drawing to its conclusion with ‘Smoking Outside’, Susto comes to an end all blissed out and chilled, with a girl smoking a bong. It’s a reminder of how often the best moment of a party is when most of the guests have all gone home, and you’re left with a few good people, listening to music you love, and just generally buzzing quietly reflecting on life. It’s in many ways an ideal way to end an album that has had its hectic moments, its faster sections, and pulls everything together affirming things in a way that leaves you feeling that yea, maybe it’s all going to be ok in the end.