Norwegian artist's 11th studio album is a contemplative, emotional reverie
It’s always difficult to critique the work of a consistently stellar musician without having very high expectations. It’s even harder to think about a new project in isolation when previous releases have been so widely lauded. Luckily, Norwegian artist Susanna lessens the blow by continually exceeding such expectations and mesmerising us with unique concepts and alluring musical visions.
Described as ‘soul music for lost souls’, Susanna’s 11th studio album Triangle is a 70-minute spiritual reverie with converging layers of emotional unrest and contemplation. There’s a profound sense of solitude that permeates throughout, perhaps arising as a result of the album being entirely self-produced. Of the production, Susanna notes: ‘a lot of people play on the album, but I have never worked so much alone before’. But this contributes to the whole flow and story of Triangle: the idea of self-reflection upon life, death, belief and superstition.
Opening with ‘Holy / Sacred’, the album begins with the prophetic lyrics ‘nothing is holy, nothing is sacred’: a statement of intent, forecasting the themes that are probed later. Susanna’s vocals are defiant but simultaneously gentle and soothing, often mimicking the type of melodies found in old Gregorian chants. This is also evident in ‘Before the Altar’, where the vocal line evokes the idea of religious or magical worship.
At times, the album recalls elements of Björk, such as in the beautifully arranged ‘Hole’ with its shimmering electronic and synth backdrop. ‘In the Need of a Shepherd’ is a more traditionally upbeat pop track, signalling a climax before Triangle reaches a thematic reawakening in the form of ‘Born Again’. Eventually, the album winds down as it broaches darkness and existentialism in the otherworldly ‘The Fire’ and harmonically lush ‘Death Hanging’. Introspective and deeply expressive overall, Triangle continues a trend of immersive releases from an exceptionally talented artist.
Out on Fri 22 Apr on SusannaSonata.