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Suzannah Espie : Mother’s Not Feeling Herself Today

★★★★

In 2012 Suzannah Espie, who had previously released five albums with her popular alt-country combo GIT, received a great deal of acclaim for her third solo record Sea of Lights. Itwas named Rhythm Magazine’s Album of the Year and made it into The Age EG’s Top 15 albums of 2012. Despite Espie’s success, she spent many years struggling with anxiety, anger and self-doubt and wrestled with the fear that others were judging and questioning her abilities as a mother. On her new album Mother’s Not Feeling Herself Today, she confronts these thoughts and feelings in song; a process that, although possibly cathartic, has produced accessible music of great beauty and depth.
 
Espie's vocal prowess is employed to great effect on What Would You Say, as she conjures up many emotions, yet does so with admirable subtlety and restraint. One of the album’s many impressive features is the manner in which Espie’s evocative lyrics pack an emotional punch whilst drawing the listener deep into the unfolding drama. The Day I Lost You, for example, is imbued with a still yet ominous atmosphere. She sings, “The day that I lost you/ I blackened the blue sky/ I poisoned the morning dew/ I trapped the birds that flew/ Cursed the waking hours/ Staring at the flowers in every room.”
 
Despite the emotionally charged lyrics, there are a multitude of toe-tapping moments throughout the album. I’m Sorry may evoke Espie’s sense of failure, yet it does so with gentle rhythmic power. The catchy central melody and soaring gospel-tinged vocal harmonies seem destined to lift rather than dampen the spirit. The title track, a shining slice of country pop, traverses melancholy topics, yetis buoyed by an addictive, swinging rhythm and punctuated with liquid guitar.
 
On this heartfelt and honest album, Espie has displayed a masterful ability to make the personal public through music that is poignant, inclusive and inspiring.
 
BY GRAHAM BLACKLEY