Susan Said's "Big Life" Reviewed
Incest and economic inequality, alcoholism and prostitution, escapism and corruption in politics, I realise you have to write about something but this virulent take on modern society is something else again. Susan Sed, the tall Teutonic leader of powerhouse classic rock band the Susan Said Band’s sophomore album is a leap forward of huge proportions, a ten song 37 minute romp that is both tight musical and a sprawl thematic.
Big Life doesn’t stop coming at you, with the exception of a gorgeous ballad towards the end, it explodes in guitar and rage, with at least two titanic vocals, and an electrified persuasiveness. It is both too much and just right. Musically, the songs are all exceptional. But some of it is not fun. “Daddy Will Keep You” is not a pleasant experience, and I wonder if it works as catharsis? But the bridge is very powerful and the guitar blisters through it. I used to have a very good friend who was raped by her father as a child and almost danced on his grave when he died twenty years later -I wonder what he opinion would be. “On Sunday” is too muddled -is the Sunday a hooker (My take?), a party girl, and what is Sed’s point of view?
But countering this is some of the best protest music you want to hear, “Big Life” is a brilliant song, juxtaposing people from opposite ends of the food chain to great effect. “Car” has its foot on the gas and a highlight of Susan’s live show, it is a terrific trip of a track. “I Just Don’t Care” has a perfect chorus, a soaring vocal spirals upwards and the band is on the dime right behind Susan. “You’ll Cry Too” is a gorgeous heartbreaker -she should give it to her buddy Cherry Dahl.
If this sounds like faint praise it isn’t, with Matt Rocchio on bass, Adam Accetta on drums and Brendan Saadat on lead guitar this is a world class rock band daring to go its own way, creating songs of uniform opinion and vision, even if you don’t think the vision is nailed shut, nobody else is doing anything remotely close to it. If you doubt the insanity that fuels “Falling Off The Edge”, you can’t doubt Saadat’s guitar here, a wild, hurt, bruised guitar, every note bends and twists in the wind.
Susan has taken the rock and roll idiom and created a world without doors, without escape, often without hope, except for one door, one possibility, her searing voice and electric guitars, hard hit drums and anchor bass, she offers the escape route: that’s why we love rock and roll.