Susanna and the Magical Orchestra 3

Susanna and the Magical Orchestra3
Up to this point, Susanna and the Magical Orchestra's claim to fame has been their cover tunes, with the dark and gloomy Norwegian duo taking on tracks by everyone from Joy Division to Leonard Bernstein to AC/DC, Dolly Parton, Leonard Cohen and Prince. Yet for album three, simply titled 3, Susanna Wallumrød and Morten Qvenild mostly set aside their recent covers game, this time dishing out eight originals with only two remakes: Roy Harper's "Another Day" and Rush's "Subdivisions." And while Wallumrød's vocal theatrics are as haunting as ever, there is a definite change-up in Qvenild's minimally arranged atmospheres, which this time come across as more sci-fi than goth cabaret. It's a good shift for the pair but one that's not fully realized, as Wallumrød's vocals have a way of overpowering the newfound instrumentation despite all the galactic synths and interplanetary drones. And even though more sans-vocals moments could have done this record a world of good, it's hard to blame the duo for shining such a bright light on their MVP. (Rune Grammofon)