45 Revelations Per Minute - Suzie Stapleton (self released)
Since, I was recently taken back by Suzie Stapleton’s compelling performance at the Bitter Sweet Kicks album launch Prince in St Kilda on Anzac Day, I did some searching. I found Suzie’s hypnotic and dark EP, “Obadi Diablo”, and it’s been on heavy airplay for more than two weeks. I contacted Ms Stapleton and requested a copy of her self-released debut EP of a few years back. Again, I was not to be disappointed.
“45 Revelations Per Minute” features some the finest guitar players in this country. That enhances the work of this Melbourne-based singer/songwriter with her emotive, at times folky, melancholic delivery and her rocking, swampy whiskey-stained songs.
The mini album opens with “Asking” with Stapleton’s dark, weathered and weary voice sounding old beyond her years, reminding me of a quote about Dylan’s voice that I once heard: “A voice that always sounds so old” Stapleton chews around her lyrics with a medium tempo, and if the song was performed by anyone else it would be on mainstream radio. Its atmospheric slide is played by Charlie Owen slide guitar who also contributes Rhodes piano to the record.
Charlie also plays on the next beautiful, self-reflective and minimalist track. ”Cut Away”. The emotions and tempo are finally lifted from the self-reflection and melancholy and it’s one of the strongest tracks on the EP. “6th Foot Under” is a loose, swampy rocker that manages to shake off its St Kilda-like cowboy punk historic swagger and becomes a voodoo indie blues workout. Again Stapleton delivers vocally explosive powerful performance underpinned with hypnotic guitars lines. The Powder Monkeys’ John Nolan makes a guest appearance, with stunning, sonic and mind fuck guitar.
“Bitter Seed” finishes the EP with a simple song built on Suzie’s plucking of her acoustic guitar with a statement: “I don’t want to be here anymore: a bitter seed in the eye of the storm”.
Stapleton’s earlier work is blues-laden, light and shade mixture of emotions, and soul. Yes, a reference point is Mark Lanegan with even a nod to Patti Smith.
I think Greg Dulli from the Afghan Whigs made a point about how cool it was those being about being born in the mid-’60s and even named an album title after the fact. During the ‘80s in many part sof Australia, we were knee-deep in a scene where, for night after night, new bands were emerging and music was thriving. At one point, Australia was probably the most vibrant place to be, for original or urgent music and street level, in all its guises.
Now, 30 years later, where we once the place where the streets were paved with gold, in 2014 it is more like panning for gold and finding specs of dust that are pure talent. That is where Suzie Stapleton sits.