Review: Rachel Taylor Brown – Susan Storm’s Ugly Sister and Other Saints and Superheroes

Label: Cutthroat Pop Records

Released: April 29, 2009

On the surface, Susan Storm’s Ugly Sister and Other Saints and Superheroes is an album of bold piano pop that at times dabbles in showtune pomp, proggy complexity and Beatlesque near perfection. The songs have the nature of a musical soliloquy as they meander between upbeat and melancholy, never being fully one without the other. On the surface, it’s a very good record. But what’s beneath the surface is where the album’s soul is. Brown draws parallels between superheroes and saints that finds some truths about being a good guy. Whether predominantly bold or subdued, violent or peaceful, each song is a vignette that shows the loneliness of the righteous path, but also delves deeper into what saints (and superheroes, in fiction) have found, a joyful asceticism. Few books on the subject could express as succinctly and easily what this album does about the peculiar happiness of humility and self-denial and Brown pulls it off in a quirky, down-to-earth manner that speaks endearingly to the soul.

Satriani: 7/10
Zappa: 7/10
Dylan: 9/10
Aretha: 9/10
Overall: 9/10



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About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

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