SM Noise [Release date 21.01.21]
Andy Susemihl’s last album ‘Elevation’ was my “Best of 2018″ – perhaps it should have been called “revelation” such was the surprise at a seasoned pro – and a relatively unknown one albeit with an interesting backstory – unleashing one of the year’s best albums by anyone’s standards.
In the interim Andy has released an EP but ‘Alienation’ is a fine follow-up to the previous album if perhaps not quite topping it. When I interviewed him following the release of ‘Elevation’ he kindly sent me a selection of his previous solo albums, all had merit but sadly all were on fairly low-key labels and would have received little promotion outside of his homeland.
For those with a weak spot for shortish (sub-four minute), melodic, pop rock tunes embellished with immaculate guitaring and great choruses look no further. Whilst fellow countryman Michael Schenker has been a big influence, stylistically the songs are more West Coast AOR reflecting that Susemihl lived in California for ten years. Before that he was in German hard rock band Sinner and then with Udo Dirkschneider’s band U.D.O.
The album ramps up from the half-way mark including the standouts ‘Common Sense’, ‘Medicine Wheel’, ‘The Game’ and ‘Over My Head’.
If some of the lyrical content seems to be derived from a world weariness with the music industry in general (‘Monkey Time’, ‘Billion Dollar Light Show’) this doesn’t come as a surprise because these observations were also present on previous tunes. Maybe Andy should just shrug his shoulders and move on.
And as an aside, GRTR! gave ‘Elevation’ such a great write-up but we never received the EP ‘Burning Man’. There’s something amiss there?
Let’s hope ‘Alienation’ is not a by-word for the future and that this latest offering – and with the previous album - sees Susemihl entering the mainstream. He certainly deserves it. ****
Review by David Randall
Album review (Elevation, 2018)
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