Fortunately this is an album of unpredictable surprises. Susan Hull aka Susy Blue grabs bits from all your favourite folk genres to create an impish, whimsical palate. The single, Wish In My Dish is like a nursery rhyme that gets subverted into a beautiful mess. On Fell From A Wall, Hull goes from sounding like a young Kate Bush to a Berlin cabaret singer within the bounds of a verse and chorus. The retro themes are wonderfully countered by upbeat production. There’s something new to be discovered with each track as these tales unwind with quirky insolence.
Album Review: Susy Blue’s Nobody’s Somebody
Once in a while an artist comes along and absolutely knocks Vulture’s socks off. We’ll admit we didn’t quite know what to expect when we sat down to listen to Melbourne based Susy Blue’s full length release Nobody’s Somebody, but god damn we’re impressed!
Don’t be mistaken thinking this sweet-faced gal can just be boxed into one genre. Her album offers an eclectic, robust and playful sound. Inspired by the likes of Joanna Newsom, Björk and Fiona Apple, Blue’s inspiration also draws from themes of mythology, space and the supernatural. Her love of 60s pop, early rock n roll and nouveau-folk shine through Nobody’s Somebody as it flirts with all music landscapes from the circus cabaret folk of previous releases and adventures towards a grittier and heavier sound. Producer Shane O’Mara (The Audreys, Tim Rogers, Paul Kelly) lent a hand and replaced banjo with electric guitars, added eclectic instrumentation from smashing glasses, indian drums and Balinese gamelan to baritone sax, creating a fresh and bold Susy Blue sound.
Nobody’s Somebody offers up many various stylings, all tied together by Susy’s buoyant and timeless vocals. It’s like all your favourite toppings put onto one cake, doused in whipped cream and dipped in three layers of chocolate. The album opens up with the sexy latin/middle eastern sounding ‘Murder Bolero’ which made us feel like we were involved in some sort of tango battle and quickly switches gears to the finger-clicking, knee slapping quirky track ‘Wish In My Dish’.
‘Fell From A Wall’ features a haunting gospel groove, with multiple percussive smashing op-shop glass samples, each recorded individually and moves effortlessly into folk train shuffle ‘Gone Now’.
Picking up the pace, ‘Baby I’m Bored’ is reminiscent of the Cat Empire, the multigenre of jazz, funk and latin influences creating a lovechild of pure aural pleasure. Vulture would have to say this is one of the standout tracks on the album, one we could definitely see accompanying many ridiculously outrageous parties we’re yet to host. (Yes, you’re invited).
After puffing ourselves out trying to salsa/rumbo/macarena, Blue slows things right down with, ‘Always Alone’ and ‘Sirens’ and transports us back to the classic doo-wop era. Simple in production, these particular tracks are a beautiful showcase of Blue’s vocals and makes us want to grab a special someone (or a blow up doll) and sway along.
Next up is ‘Messy N’ peppered with strings and woodwinds, which although at first appears quite soft, eventually builds up enough to give off an incredibly eerie feel. That’s the magic of Susy Blue, she eases you in as a listener with her whimsical voice yet at the same time is still able to scare the fuck out of you. To be honest all we get is scary images of dolls and little creepy children.
Vulture’s ultimate favourite track would have to be the wonderfully taunting ‘Cheer The Fuck Up’ which reminded us of Lily Allen’s cheeky ‘Fuck You’. In true Blue fashion, she’s surprised us once again, disguising what appears to be a heartfelt sweet melody with a cheeky hidden message.
‘Almost Love You’ brings the album full circle and leaves a rather nostalgic vibe. While it’s not as strong as some of the previous tracks, it feels fitting returning to the more delicate side of Blue’s vocals.
Nobody’s Somebody made for roller-coaster listening. From kicking things off with a bang to slowing things right down and picking up the pace again, its unpredictability is probably its most charming element. Blue has progressed beyond her classically trained roots and cultivated a truly unique yet refreshing sound.
Pearl Magazine Album Review
Melbourne Singer-songwriter Susy Blue is releasing her anticipated new album Nobody’s Somebody. Chock full of amazing vocals, interesting songwriting and a whole lot of different genres, the LP delivers on being a good listen from start to finish. Murder Bolerosweeps open the album with a dark gypsy sound, the track feels like a dramatic mini opera, evoking a lots imagery. It goes upbeat next on the calypso tune Wish In My Dish.
Gone Now with it’s driving rhythm takes us into country territory, but we’re brought back with the sinister surf track Baby I’m Bored, which has some cool guitar, as do a lot of the songs. The back half of the album keeps up the pace of genre hopping, Hopefully I’ll Dietakes us back to an upbeat rhythm, with Susy’s vocals sounding extra amazing.
Soft strings carry the album out on a cloud in Almost Love You.
The Music, Brisbane
Susy Blue – Baby I’m Bored (independent)
Susy brings back fond memories of a long-forgotten time when saxes weren’t derided for the saxiness and there were more than four people per band, resulting in danceable fun times.
Triple J – Rosie Beaton
Baby I’m Bored
I love this song – awesome band, vocals , wicked sense to it – great great!! i get bored often it appeals to my short attention span.
Single Review – Susy Blue ‘Wish In My Dish’
Little Boom Music
This latest single from Melbourne’s Susy Blue is exceptional! Lyrically the song presents the quirks of a nursery rhyme that weave their way over the Calypso style drums and guitars and the melody is simple and very effective. The twist in the end drum break is genius and it’s very much a signature additive that the band likes to throw into their songs which makes this and all previous releases quite unique!
Final words: Wish In My Dish will get you swinging your arms and clicking your fingers quicker than aBeatnik in a Gidget movie!
Triple J – Dave Rubie-Howe
Wish In My Dish
This one sure is cute and it’s done with a continuous parade of tricks to keep you guessing. It’ll likely be still stuck in my head when I hit the sack tonight…
Live Review – Susy Blue @ Fitzroy Workers Club 11 August 2013
Little Boom Music
Last Sunday was one for the books as I’d never seen the Workers Club packed out. It was wall to wall with groups of friends, families who’d taken their little ones and also from overhearing some of the crowd, people’s grandparents also came along for the gig which was awesome as I do love seeing a mixed crowd enjoying music! When Susy and her band starting setting up the energy rose as the 6 piece packed out the stage with equipment. Everyone started to huddle for the prime spots which included front row seating on cushions and chairs and the mid standing section and the corner pockets were also prime real estate.
A few more swinging tunes later and then with a hand in the air by the bands drummers it was on! Susy and her group who I must say were looking sharp opened with Middle Eastern sounds on their track Murder Bolero which merged smoothly into their 50’s Rock n Roll styled Gone Now and within these first tracks the talents of each individual band member became apparent.
The music continued to shift and blend through different genre flavours and we were treated to Always Alone with it’s warm keys over a Do-Wop style and Baby I’m Bored stepped it up with a crazy little saxophone line! Mid song banter from Susy and the band was fun and I always like it when the artists gives an anecdote to lead in a song as it connects with the audience and makes them a part of the gig. Another element that I liked about the day was hearing the bands breakdowns and quirky bits in the arrangements as they were unexpected and I just dig how those aspects have formed a major part of their sound.
Cheer The Fuck Up and Please Don’t Kill showed a humorous side of the group and I’d been waiting all week to hear the bands latest single Wish In My Dish live and with each song my anticipation grew! Towards the end of the bands set I kept thinking the song would be played however it wasn’t, but all was not lost as the Susy switched it up and decided to play the music video for the song. Playing the video made the day unique and although I’d seen it before, the Samurai Jack style animation really came to life on the projector screen, and those dancing Totem Poles, classic!
Final sum up: Lyrically there was no clichés from Susy and the band. The way Susy delivers her vocals is truly breathtaking, the band are musicians at the top of their game and as an audience member I walked away thoroughly entertained by the cross genre menacing sounds of Susy Blue!!
Susan Hull aka Susy Blue was cocooned as a classically trained flautist before realising that her personality wasn’t entirely suited to the shackles of classical music. Crossing the floor into classical music’s mortal enemy, improvisational jazz, Hull found herself writing songs full of light and flight that were embedded in gypsy/jazz and cabaret folk. They’re free, fun, on the fringe and yet nestled in pop overtones. With a reworked set taking shape for her spot at Darebin Music Feast, Hull is a bundle of nervous yet charming energy in conversation….
See full interview at: http://www.beat.com.au/music/susy-blue.
Susy Blue Circus Single Review
Tonight I have found a pretty special little tune by Melbourne artist – Susy Blue.
‘Circus’ incorporates a bouncy, light-hearted underlying melody that is present throughout the majority of the song which paints an immediate picture in your head of a young and wide-eyed child skipping along through the circus grounds, eager to go inside the big tent. The wholesome sound of the violin adds an airy sense of simplicity, reminding listeners of a simplistic childhood.
The lyrics however contradict the piece’s happy and frivolous instrumentation, creating an insightful little contradiction – Ooooh, I love a little contradiction and confusion!
The second half of the song takes on a very different feel, contrasting to it’s joyful beginning. The contrasting half constantly increases in tempo, creating a sense of urgency and panic, adding to the contradiction of the overall product. Eventually slowing to an eerie lament, Susy continues to sing her message, however the listener has really only just picked up on it’s true meaning!
Overall, it can be said the Susy Blue’s ‘Circus’ is a contradictory lament that exudes calmness and joy along with plenty of panic and eeriness – Just what the modern listener wants, right?
‘Circus’ has been circulating ‘Triple J Unearthed’ for a while now and has received a warm welcome by the Indie Music Community yet, like most new Australian songs, has struggled to reach it’s way to a broader audience. Such a shame don’t you think?
The good news is though that Susy has been making a name for herself throughout the Melbourne and the wider Australian population – Woo!
Circus single review
Local “nouveau folk” artist Susy Blue applies her lovely honey tones to a twirling tune reminiscent of BasiaBulat’s Little Waltz. Glock notes tinkle like a music box while Susy paints vivid pictures of crying clowns and sick elephants, and a corrupt ringleader who treats his audience members as “pawns for profit” – a grim and gruesome world delivered in the dreamiest of songs.
Susy Blue – Circus and Zululand (single)
The latest single from cabaret mistress of ceremonies Susy Blue (Susan Hull) Circus is a carny gem. Think circus clowns, fairy floss, popcorn, balloons and a tent. Circus is fun and catchy. Blue’s voice is light and one that may take time to get used to.
It’s all pretty fresh, unique, and you can hear some nice influences from folk and jazz.The second track on this single release, Zululand, has a more relaxed vocal style and mood.
Ms Blue is one to watch and there’s plenty of folks who will be looking forward to her album.
Curly Girl Album Review
Bizarrely adorable folk
With Curly Girl, Susan Hull has delivered an album that, unlike more formulaic folk, wouldn’t make very suitable background music. The combination of odd yet familiar sounds keeps your attention entirely tuned in. Opening track Moose Hooves, based on Doctor Seuss’s Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose, sets the bar for the album’s instrumentation, with glockenspiel, pots and pans, banjo, ukulele, pan flute and toy piano. Its beat and tone change constantly and intriguingly. Burning Star is more traditional, with sweet traces of country and ’50s pop; Pathetic Little Man has attitudes reminiscent of R&B plus some simple and very pleasant instrumentation. Circus shows Susan Hull’s melodious versatility, with a 1920s French crooner sound, also present in Soap, which abandons all but drums and a (real) piano. Curly Girl is certainly an adorable, entertaining and clever album not to be missed.
Susy Blue – Paper Deer Live Review
The Grace Darling Hotel (26/3/11)
…it was the bubbly and downright fantastic performance conducted by the pint sized mistress of cabaret folk, Susy Blue, that truly made this a night of excellent live music. The set began with an a capella intro to Polly Wolly Doodle by Susy Blue and her two “backing bitches” showing from the outset that truly polished and skilled musicians were commanding the stage.
The performance quickly launched into the first of the two songs featured on the double A-side,Moose Hooves with Susy Blue on her knees playing the carnival-like tune on a toy piano. This began her exhibition of broad musical skill expanding to include her girlish yet versatile vocals and flute, that carried her on to the second tune, Burning Star, an almost country jazz fusion with hints of Irish folk that expresses “how evolution blows her mind,” and gave the opportunity for some inspiring jazz solos by the array of amazing musicians that made up her band.
The set went on to include a variety of songs that showed Susy’s unique ability to concoct tunes that blend musical styles from jazz to Hungarian folk to a sea shanty and a murder-bolero that Susy claimed she had to make up because she hasn’t “killed anyone…yet.” Charming the punters with her vivacious banter and her strong and professional command of the stage and her entourage seemed almost effortless for Susy Blue, needless to say we were all left wanting more of the cheeky songstress’s magic even after she indulged us with the admittedly rehearsed encore to loud cheers. Miss Blue certainly wet our musical appetites for her coming CD launch, Curly Girl, which I for one will be attending as a newly initiated groupie.
See full review:
Susy Blue – Burning Star/ Moose Hooves (2011 Single)
The AU Review
Melbourne’s Susy Blue should really be a lot more famous. I’m not blowing smoke up the proverbial, but Susy Blue has (from a writer’s point of view) a cute, offbeat, colourful voice and persona and (from, say, a music programmer at a major radio station’s point of view) a totally Kate Nash/ Eliza Doolittle-esque flavour that is unique without being alienating. You gotta cover all bases, kids.
Single “Burning Star” introduces newbies to Susy’s bouncy, Kate Miller-Heidke type vocals. Although rooting herself in a “cabaret folk” jazz sort of niche, Susy and her musical cohorts manages to meld scores (is there a pun there?) of genres together in a delicious musical milkshake. Om nom nom nom. Setting for a sort of country jazz-swing sound here, the drums are jazzy as all hell (brush, brush, brush) and the addition of the banjo makes it sound like a lovely barn waltz. It’s so warm and welcoming; a little saccharine but very cute and lovely.
B-side “Moose Hooves” is more festive; like a gypsy rabble with what sounds like a glockenspiel breakdown halfway through. Susy’s very distinctive, high and friendly voice sails beautifully about like a…sail. Get into it.
SUSY BLUE, Curly Girl, Big Rig Records
XPress Magazine Review
Susy Blue peddles a unique blend of ‘cabaret folk’. Through her training as a classical flautist, she’s been influenced by jazz, Latin, gypsy and folk styles, which all come together on the album in a mess of different styles that all somehow comes together.
As soon as the first track Moose Hooves opens, you can tell you’re in for a different experience. It shows the cabaret influences on the album and sounds like a mishmash of polka and some kind of gypsy folk song, all delivered in Susy’s peculiar falsetto. It was, in fact, inspired by Dr Seuss’ Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose, showing the whimsical side to the former cabaret mistress of ceremonies.
Second track Burning Star is a dreamy country number that’s one of the standout tracks on the album. Seed follows in a similar fashion, a sweet drawling number that sounds like it belongs on a jukebox in a ‘50s country and western movie.
There’s an eclectic collection of instruments used on the album – everything from cello, banjo and ukulele to toy piano, glockenspiel and even pots and pans. However, the most impressive instrument on the album is Susy’s voice – even on tracks like Pathetic Little Man, a tune about putting an ex-lover in their place, it sounds clear, sweet and poignant.
It matches well with the quirky nature of the album. It’s a rather unusual collection of songs that inexplicably sound like they naturally belong together. Although cabaret folk is an odd niche to create, it suits Susy Blue’s style perfectly.
Susy Blue Interview with Paper-Deer
Having developed a genre all of her own, Susy Blue is taking her place in the Melbourne music scene as the mistress of cabaret-folk. After migrating from Brisbane to the musician’s mecca of Melbourne, this carnivalesque musical all-rounder is sure to capture our hearts with her playful yet skillfully crafted tunes. In anticipation of the launch of her upcoming album Curly Girl, Susy Blue is releasing her double A-sideMoose Hooves/Burning Star. A cacophony of musical influences with a touch of girlish wonder that evokes images of merry-go-rounds and and ring masters her music is a treasure already being discovered by the industry and fans alike.