Like a planet orbiting the sun, you'll find yourself powerfless to break free from the gravitational pull of Susanna Karolina Wallumroed's sublime voice. It's so clear and beautiful and infused with substance. From the moment Susanna enters a few moments into Recall, you can't help but sit up and pay attention. And with the minimal accompaniment provided by keyboard player Morten Qvenild often pushed deep into the background, Susanna has plenty of room to weave her magic.
3 is Susanna and Morten's third album together, following the critically acclaimed debut List of Lights and Buoys (2004) and the covers album Melody Mountain (2006). The former also included a couple of covers, including a celebrated interpretation of Dolly Parton's Jolene, and they've gone that same route here again. Their choice of cover songs once again points to the pronounced weakness for heavy metal and prog rock that we saw on Melody Mountain, which included covers of AC/DC and Kiss, of all people! This time, they've decided to offer up a revelatory interpretation of Subdivisions by Rush to go with a beautiful version of Another Day by Roy Harper.
I happen to have been a fan of early '80s era Rush. Moving Pictures (1981) was a fantastic album and Signals (1982), which featured Subdivisions as the lead-off track, wasn't half-bad either. The version on 3 really shows that the Canadian power trio were capable of some outstanding songs. The musical arrangement of the version on 3 is more elaborate than most of the rest of the album. Nevertheless, it fits in well and certainly gives the song a new lease on life. And a very different life at that.
Most of the album is considerably more intimate and confessional than this old classic. Susanna and Morten have no reservations about opening up and probing the innermost sanctums. But 3 also has some terrifically catchy moments. You can just imagine Palpatine's Dream, the first single from the album, becoming the soundtrack at all the hippest bars and lounges in places like New York, just as Massive Attack and Portishead were, say 12-15 years ago. It's got the gritty emotional gravitas to go with a catchy smoldering beat. Recall is in similar territory.
Another "douze points" for Norway then.