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Music Review: Susanna & The Grinders – Twine

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It’s good to know that rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well in Sweden.

Susanna & The Grinders have just released their debut album, Twine. They are actually a brother and sister duo led by Susanna Risberg. She is a multi-instrumentalist who provides the album’s guitar work, keyboards, synthesizers, and bass, in addition to furnishing the vocals, producing the album, and writing the material. The only other musician listed in the credits is her drummer and brother, Bjorn.

She began her musical journey at the age of 12 as a jazz guitarist. At age 17, she accepted a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College Of Music. She formed Susanna & The Grinders in 2008 and has continually toured and performed in her home country since that time. She has veered away from her jazz roots, although elements can still be found in her music.

Her music resides outside the mainstream. In many ways, its foundation looks back to the keyboard and synthesizer sounds of the 1980s. The guitar riffs play off the keyboards and create enticing, but at times quirky, melodies. The percussion is simple, non-intrusive and provides a subtle underpinning for the overall sound. She has one of those pure voices that serves as a central component of her music. It all adds up to a raw sound that is at times powerful, calm and odd, but always entertaining.

The title song, which is the album’s lead track, establishes the fact that it will be an unpredictable listening experience. The staccato rhythmic interludes interrupt the melodies but her vocal fuses the song’s elements together. “Blow” travels in a very different direction as it is an acoustic ballad with emotional lyrics.

Her diverse musical vision continues throughout the album’s 10 tracks. There are gentle and slower tunes, uptempo electric dance songs, and material straight out of a 1980s synth movement.

Susanna Risberg is one of those musicians who travel a different path than most. Her vision is individualistic and uniquely her own. Susanna & The Grinders have produced an album of interesting, intelligent, but very distinct music. If you are in the mood to explore something different and unique, then this may be an album for you.

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