Susanna and the Magical Orchestra – Melody Mountain (2006)

Susanna and the Magical Orchestra - Melody Mountain (2006)
Artist: Susanna and the Magical Orchestra
Album: Melody Mountain
Genre: Vocal Jazz
Origin: Norway
Released: 2006
Quality: mp3, 192 kbps

Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
It’s a Long Way To The Top (AC/DC)
These Days (Matt Burt)
Condition Of The Heart (Prince)
Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division)
Crazy Crazy Nights (KISS)
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right (Bob Dylan)
It’s Raining Today (Scott Walker)
Enjoy the Silence (Depeche Mode)
Fotheringay (Sandy Denny)


When Susanna Wallumrød and Morten Qvenild appeared in 2004 with their impossibly atmospheric debut List of Lights and Buoys, critics and fans marveled at the duo’s smooth blend of chamber jazz, vocal pop, and Twin Peaks-inspired melancholy. One of that record’s finest moments was a pure torch rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” a neat trick that went on to inspire an entire collection of covers. One look at the songs chosen for inclusion on the breathtaking Melody Mountain is enough to trip anybody’s “hipster irony” alarm. While it’s not exactly groundbreaking to cover Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” or Nico/Jackson Browne’s “These Days” for the umpteenth time, it’s a pretty cool trick of the light to throw in refreshingly earnest versions of AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll),” Scott Walker’s “It’s Raining Today,” “Condition of the Heart” by Prince, and the last great Kiss song “Crazy, Crazy Nights.” Toss in some Depeche Mode (“Enjoy the Silence”), a little early Fairport Convention (“Fotheringay”), and a bit of Joy Division (“Love Will Tear Us Apart”), and you’ve got one of the world’s most eclectic collections of noir-heavy pop oddballs and classics ever filtered through the cloud of smoke emanating from the ghost of Marlene Dietrich’s cigarette.
Review by James Christopher Monger