You dig your toes into the warm sand, as you sit and stare at the azure horizon. Something compels you to begin walking towards the waves that swathe the shore with foam. The water overtakes your ankles, and still you walk. You keep walking when the liquid covers everything under your waste, under your neck, under your chin. You inhale deeply below the surface before opening your eyes, filled with vivid color. Melodies of the ocean fill your ears . . .
The face of pop music has received countless makeovers, each more perplexing and divisive than the last. It’s reached a point where artists create the saccharine sounds typical of the “genre” while simultaneously parodying it, resulting in concoctions of both the satirical and the sincere. Perfecting this formula is a tightrope walk, but it’s nailed down on this record. Secretly Susan is the newest full-length from Melbourne’s Sui Zhen.
The tone is set by the shore-lapping waves that kick off the album’s intro track. Aqueous synths and billowing subterranean basslines envelop the listener in watery, bossa nova/dub-flavored worlds, pulsating with balearic hand percussion and soft electronic rhythms. At the core of the compositions are Becky Sui Zhen’s breathy, playfully featherlight vocal melodies, floating throughout the songs like candy-coated jellyfish.
Although not necessary to fully enjoy the music, it is recommended that the listener view Sui Zhen’s accompanying visual elements. Self-directed, her videos feature seductive brain-smashing, egg-caressing, fern-fondling, and other activities that meld the sensual and the repulsive in charming ways. Secretly Susan is gorgeous, uncanny, and completely entrancing. If you’re seeking aquatic, bossa nova/dub-flavored pop, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)