The silicone veil
"The silicone veil" is a lesson in contradictions -- it's a far warmer record than Susanne Sundfør's previous release "The brothel", but it's also far more electronic and synth-heavy. Likewise, it's more direct and approachable while also somehow remaining far more abstract and densely composed than anything she's done before, both lyrically and musically. The Joni Mitchell comparisons which were apt for her self-titled debut circa 2007 have been completely stripped away and what now remains is a performer that is uniquely her own self, standing alone among erstwhile peers. As always, the focal point remains her voice, and on this album she allows it to boldly soar through obtuse chord changes, rarely opting to take the route most easily travelled. It can be a daunting listen for the casual pop music fan or anyone else hoping for a friendly singalong, but at the same time, those challenges are a crucial part of what makes her so compelling. One never gets the impression that she is over-complicating things for its own sake either, rather the songs always flow effortlessly from one movement to the next and there's never a moment where a single note feels extraneous or out of place. Her compositions are a direct reflection of the complex notions she conveys and I couldn't imagine it coming out any other way. And besides, the moments I struggle to wrap my head around are precisely what keep me coming back for repeated listens -- even when I feel like I can't fully grasp the big picture, the music still affects me deeply at a raw, emotional level. That's how I know Susanne Sundfør is a truly great artist and her new album is a brilliant piece of work. This is the new benchmark.
- Avi Roig