EP, Siren Wire Recordings, 2007
My own discovery of Susan Matthews’ work came when I was given the opportunity to review her second album, “Bruiser”. After listening to some of the tracks on her Myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/susanmatthews) I was happy to have been given a chance to investigate her music in more detail. Stylistically, Matthews’ work is avant-garde and experimental, drawing you in with its careful construction and considered content. She is also not afraid to push boundaries and explore new sounds, moods and forms of expression through her music and the end result is something quite original and engaging. “Lost Sorrows” is an 18 minute CD EP that follows Matthews’ second album, “Bruiser”, on her own Siren Wire Recordings label. With her third album due later this year, “Lost Sorrows” may hint at what to expect.
Heavy on atmosphere, sometimes awash with decaying distortion and often accompanied with her own ethereal vocal tones, “Lost Sorrows” runs through a range of moods and feelings in its duration. Opening with the distorted piano melodies of “Blistered Sunlight”, the EP gets off to an uneasy and melancholic start. The mood becomes more ominous with the low mechanical grind of “On a Theme of Falling” and is enhanced towards its close by Matthews’ own wonderfully folk styled vocal accompaniment. The theme is continued through into “A Passionate Hush” which takes elements of the two preceding tracks and fuses them together to form a wonderful whole; low swirling distortion, deranged piano and other-worldly vocals coming in and out of the mix. The end result turns “A Passionate Hush” into something of an enigma; on one hand it could be deemed disturbing and ghostly yet on another it is strangely comforting and absorbing. It is at this point that Matthews treats us to the beautifully gentle ambience of the wonderfully titled “My Name is Safe in Your Mouth”. Resembling the big warm sound of a church organ, it emanates waves of floating sound from beginning to end. The EP ends much as it started with the distorted piano of “Blistered Moonlight”; the last tune of a late night’s playing reflecting the worries and thoughts of the player one last time before the end of another day and the notes are erased by electronic distortion.
Matthews appears to use her music to exorcise her demons and bear her soul, expressing anger, frustration, serenity, dejection and everything in between through her work. Often emotive and always intense, each track has its own mood and identity but all bear the hallmarks of her unique experimental sensibilities.
— Paul Lloyd