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CD REVIEW: Susan Court - High Relief
By Ben Ohmart - 05/21/2007 - 10:34 AM EDT

Artist: Susan Court
Genre: Pop
CD Review:
A very original voice. With songs as individual as a car crash. No 2 car crashes are exactly alike, you know.

She's best new artist and best of 1998 from the War Against Silence ( and songs like 'Blight & Bonny' will give you an idea why. Starts out with echoing bass and plunking guitar, then 'little miss joyce has lost her voice / and she doesn't know where to find it / she won't say a word unless she's / sure that nobody else / nobody else would mind'. Like Joyce, it might take a while to decode, but isn't that where the fun starts?

The flute on 'Sir Galahad' immediately tells you here is a song with long, strong roots to far-gone days. Susan is PERfectly cast here - like a happy handmaiden, floating around all in silk, in her quaint English garden. Susan has a delightful way of ending certain lyrics in an invisible smile. You can just SEE she's smiling when she first emits 'a ridiculous crime'.

'Floodletting' is a beautiful trick of the light, with piano, good keyboard, and voice telling the story of: 'dusting off my floodman, I ask him what should we do today? his pockets spill over with every possibility, and I'm dressing the flood man in a benevolent yellow suit. he's dressing me in tissue paper.' An odd dream that you're afraid is really happening; spooked on further by male backing vocals for the first time on the album.

Should I go so far to compare her bizarrely pretty vocals and unformulated method of writing/performing 'pop' songs to 1 of my personal heroes, David Bowie? I don't think I'd be far off. There's also something slightly Irish about her presentations. I like her classical background, her almost Elizabethan splendor, at times combining the eternal spirit of past cultures with all the elegance she can locate of the present day. Tori Amos, watch your back.

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