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.

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

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