BAND OF SUSANS - Hope Against Hope MP3/Flac

LP Furthur 1988
CD Furthur 1988 with bonus tracks

"Favoring chaotic squalls of guitar noise and avant textures over the dynamics of conventional songcraft, the New York-based Band of Susans formed in 1986 around the core duo of singers/songwriters Robert Poss and Susan Stenger, longtime friends who reunited only after pursuing dramatically different musical paths: while Poss became a fixture on the N.Y.C. punk scene in the Clash-inspired Tot Rocket before joing Rhys Chatham's guitar ensemble, Stenger relocated to Prague, where she studied the theories of John Cage. Originally, Band of Susans featured Poss on lead guitar and Stenger on bass, rounded out by guitarists Susan Tallman and Susan Lyall (hence the outfit's name) and drummer Ron Spitzer; four months after forming, they issued their debut EP, Blessing and Curse. In 1988, Band of Susans released their first full-length album, Hope Against Hope".
(Jason Ankenny, All-Music Guide)

"At their utmost Band of Susans make one of the most spiritual and uplifting rock sounds around. Hope Against Hope remains the blueprint for their best 'songs'. Live, in a downtown New York club, it's even more ultimate than on vinyl. Three guitars cross-hatch incredible simple chords and sub-riffs over the same, narrow soundspace, creating an inchoate blaze of light, like a child scrawling manically over and over a piece of paper with fluorescent crayons. Band of Susans work furiously all for that moment of flashover when the song's superstructure is engulfed, lost in a borderless miasma of interference, a pall of cosmic tinnitus. The problem for many listeners is that Band of Susans, like A.R. Kane and the most intelligent rock of the moment, depart from the customary ways we children of the music press 'read' rock. Instead of 'communication', Band of Susans offer something more like communion. The vocals and words are almost buried; as narratives (both lyrical and musical) their songs don't go anywhere, but by repetition alight into a pure ascension. The ideal state all these songs verge on is the instrumental - but maybe it's important that the words are half-heard, are seen to be obliterated. Others will be troubled by the lack of charisma, but these are the people whose idea of 'presence', is a winsome doll backed by there leather-clad airheads. Sometimes Band of Susans are a radical vaporisation of 'presence', in the same way the metal of their riffs passes beyond white heat into a gaseous state. Sometimes they are just plain nondescript. Their debut LP, Hope Against Hope is divided evenly between celestial grey and New Wave grey".
(Simon Reynolds, Melody Maker)


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