Susto “Time in the Sun”

New West Records, 2021

Lessons in loss and life, under the heat of the sun.

Artwork for Susto album Time in the SunIt’s been a tumultuous year or two for Susto’s singer/songwriter frontman, Justin Osbourne. Prior to entering the studio to record ‘Time in the Sun’, Susto’s fifth studio album, Osborne became a father and midway through recording, lost his own father to cancer. Osborne says, “Because I had begun writing when I found out I was going to be a dad, these events were the biggest inspirations for the record. It felt like I was in between the beginning and end of life. Up until my own father passed away, I felt like it was an album about new life and becoming a parent. His passing shifted the narrative towards the cyclical nature of life, death, and new births.”

Osbourne began penning songs as a teenager in South Carolina and after a hiatus from music, relocated to Havana, Cuba. While there, he befriended local musicians who encouraged him to focus on writing songs again. The band’s name is derived from a Latin American term that can be roughly translated as ‘panic attack’. Osborne says, “That deep fright was something that I was experiencing, and songwriting felt like it was helping me cure it.

As the album title suggests, the 11 tracks on this record evoke images of a sun-kissed landscape. However, while tracks like ‘Get Down’, ‘Summertime’ and ‘Life is Suffering’, may be summery on the surface, many of them have a much darker meaning. ‘Get Down’ depicts a battle against substance abuse and suicide. It’s a bold starting point for the album’s very personal narrative, reflecting the major transitions in his life, and the cyclical nature of life and death.

Despite the heavy themes, sonically this is a record of synth-driven indie-electro Americana with pop sensibilities, which makes for a thoroughly joyful, enchanting and sometimes psychedelic listen. This is one for the road to sunnier climes.

7/10
7/10

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