Susanna

Wild Dog

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AllMusic Review by

If there were any doubts that Susanna is a world-class singer/songwriter, Wild Dog should put them to rest. Her third English-language solo album, Wild Dog follows years of activity with other projects, including 2009's brilliant Susanna and the Magical Orchestra album 3, Giovanna Pessi's 2011 album If Grief Could Wait, and Jeg Vil Hjem Til Menneskene, on which she transformed the work of Norwegian poet Gunvor Hofmo into song. While some artists would be longing for a break after that kind of output, Susanna seems energized by it: Wild Dog is some of her most organic and open-sounding music yet. Joined by Emmett Kelly of Bonnie "Prince" Billy's band and Arcade Fire's Jeremy Gara, among others, she creates perfect foils for her mercurial voice and lyrics. She's every inch the ice princess on "Freeze"'s chorus, but thaws ever so gradually on the verses; the gorgeous "Imagine" opens Wild Dog with a complex mix of yearning and resignation, a feeling echoed in the equally lovely breakup song "Starving Soul," in which Susanna meditates on love and loss in her most seductive tones. Throughout the album, she crafts an air of hushed intensity that's spellbinding -- and even more so when she pierces it. Toward its end, "Oh, I Am Stuck" blossoms suddenly into electrifying rock, and the effect is like finding water in the desert; later, "Wild Horse Wild Dog" morphs from a postmodern torch song into surprisingly heavy riffs. While much of Susanna's reputation may have been built on her skills as an interpreter of other people's songs, Wild Dog is a testament to the subtly haunting power of her own music.

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