Monday, September 2, 2013

Susquehanna & The End of Summer

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We've still got twenty days or so until the autumnal equinox (I looked it up), which means that it's technically still summer for another three weeks. Still, now that it's September, you definitely feel as though you've missed your chance to go to the beach, go swimming, go to a festival, go wherever it is you go in the summertime. School is back in, the eights in our dates have been usurped by gloomy-looking nines, and if you want to plonk your headphones on and have a blast of your summer playlist, this is your last chance.

I blogged about my own summer playlist back in July, but this is The Album Wall, and if you want to know which non-chopped-up albums I've been listening to this summer, the list would have to start with Susquehanna by the Cherry Poppin' Daddies.


The Daddies themselves have claimed that Susquehanna is to some extent a concept album, with the lyrics centered around "various relationships in decay". It's a break-up album, sort of, although songs like Blood Orange Sun and Wingtips move away from traditional love song territory to take a sideways look at mortality instead.

But regardless of what kind of concept the band was going for, I've got my own view of Susquehanna. Each song sounds to me like a little slice of summer, twelve* vignettes that paint twelve warm, sun-struck pictures. It's a ready-made summer playlist, and it probably covers more genres in forty-five minutes than my own fifty-track extravaganza managed in three hours or so.

So what summery scenes does Susquehanna show us? Julie Grave sounds like a long afternoon spent ogling girls outside a corner shop; Blood Orange Sun is a high school summer holiday gone awry. Breathe, with its jazzy flute part and international vibe, is the perfect soundtrack for hitting the bars on a hot July evening.

It's an album packed with vivid imagery - the fiery lovers flamenco-ing around a ruined beach house in Roseanne, the jaded old jazzman in Wingtips who crushes out his cigar and heads off to meet death - and this, combined with the vast variety of styles covered, ensures that boredom is an impossibility. Summer may be more or less finished for the year, but I'd still recommend that you get yourself a copy of Susquehanna sooner rather than later. That way, you'll have it on hand as soon as summer 2014 arrives.

*The album's thirteenth track, Arráncate, is a Spanish-language version of its first track, Bust Out.

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