Life affirming collection of inspiring and moving songs.
So many musicians have been though hell and back in recent years, with the pandemic affecting almost all aspects of their lives. Susto’s Justin Osborne has had his fair share of problems in and after channelling these difficulties on his last album ‘Time In The Sun’, where he coped with the death of his father, as well as becoming a parent himself, his latest allows him to make music that’s equally life affirming.
Osborne was coping with a divorce, the difficulties of re-building his band after the pandemic and the pain and helplessness of witnessing family members struggle with addiction and mental illness. The fantastic songs here describe the demise and aftermath of an almost decade long relationship – but also celebrate life, detailing the joy of falling in love and the hopefulness of starting over.
If the location of a recording is important – Osborne was inspiring in his choice. It was partly recorded in Charleston, Asherville and Athens, Georgia. In a stoke of genius, though, through the Mexican Institute of Sound, the band took a recording pilgrimage to the Mexican town of Tepoztlan, where they turned an Airbnb home into a remote recording studio. Such a clever move.
And these songs are really special. Highlights include ‘Mt Caroline’ – a really catchy and stirring song with fuzzy guitars and a lovely singalong chorus. ‘Tina’ is a moving tune which details the difficulties his mother had with family drug taking. Heartfelt, passionate and moving – it builds wonderfully and Osborne’s strong voice just adds momentum to a gorgeous number.
Single ‘My Entire Life’ is another powerful track with a superb chorus; ‘Hyperbolic Jesus’ is a piano driven love song – and is about falling in love when one doesn’t expect to and details what fires the passion in us; ‘Mermaid Vampire’ is raunchier with a pounding rhythm and is about the primal power of love. These are all mini masterpieces – great tunes that show Osborne growing even more as a songwriter and performer.
This is a fantastic album – each song memorable and joyous – even if the lyrical content is often difficult. This reviewer can’t stop playing it which is no higher recommendation. Susto continue to evolve as a band, and this is a real winner.