Norwegian artist, Susanna, along with new band, the Brotherhood of Our Lady, have recently released new album, Garden of Earthly Delights,via SusannaSonata. Inspired by the surreal art made by Hieronymus Bosch several hundred years ago, Susanna has merged pop melodies, reminiscent of the works of Tori Amos to more eccentric lyrics.
Medieval Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch’s work is both disturbing, and yet spiritual; Susanna manages to reflect this in her album, Garden of Earthly Delights. Her songs express conflict in emotion, bliss and also torment throughout the fifteen track LP.
For her thirteenth album, Susanna took a selection of Bosch’s paintings as starting points for her poetic compilation of ethereal songs. Tracks like Gluttony and Lust, Death and the Miser and Ship of Fools, reflect Bosch’s depictions of sin and human weakness, whereas Wayfarer, Ecstasy and Beautiful Life suggest the transcendent search for spiritual rewards.
Having always been a bit leftfield, Susanna has not surprised but yet outshone herself with this most recent offering. Originally a commissioned work for the Vossajazz Festival 2017, Garden of Earthly Delights ranges from soul searching balladry to atmospheric synth soundscapes. And yet she still dispenses a loyal element of medieval folk, which would probably please Bosch. Her mystic and haunting vocals on tracks such as Death and the Miser, certainly add an element of drama that drowns the weak in their own greed.
The Brotherhood of Our Lady accompanies her wondrous lyrics on piano and electronics, and are drawn from Norway’s fresh liberal music scene, with members of bands like Skadedyr, Stina Stjern, Listen to Girl and Propan. The album was recorded in the Ocean Sound Studio on the Northwest coast of Norway, a fully equipped wooden hut that sits on at the edge of the sea, atmospheric recording surroundings for a surmountable album.
Merely forty-two minutes, I was surprised at it’s fifteen track length but the album is a formidable listen at points, and still depicts the sorrow and sadness that comes with living in this time of consumption, in the same way as Bosch’s paintings. There is much to get from this album, with many head nods to more than just Bosch, but Susanna does retain her own with this beguiling premise and mystical sounds.
Garden of Earthly Delights is out now, via SusannaSonata.