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Sussita - Trás CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.12 | 6 ratings

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3 stars Sussita's self-titled debut is also known as 'Trás' and is also, as far as I know, the only proper album they ever released. This is pretty light and unpretentious music, but given Israeli folk doesn't often show its face outside that country, I found it to be an album that I simply had to listen to after first hearing about it a few years ago. Turns out it was pretty much worth the effort to hunt it down even though it took quite a while.

There's very little information about the band in the liner notes, or anywhere else I could find for that matter, although a couple of the band members have shown up on other group's albums, and they are clearly very well-schooled musicians. All the liner notes and artwork are in Hebrew, as are the vocals, so for most of us the actual meaning of the songs is somewhat obscure. Given the laid-back, almost playful arrangements and titles like "Na'arati" ("My Girl"), "Shir Shalva " ("Serenity Song") and "HaMadrich LeRikudei Am" ("The Folk Dance Teacher"), most of these songs aren't about particularly deep topics anyway though, so no harm, no foul.

The instrumentation is fairly standard contemporary indie-folk fare, just some acoustic and electric guitar, bass, very simple drums, a little organ (or maybe accordion) and a couple of flutes (or one flautist with overdubs, not sure which). The arrangements are often pretty simple, melodic but with sometimes odd tempos such as the (appropriately-titled) "Tiul" ("Wandering") and closing "Aley Giv'a" ("On the Hill").

Occasionally the band gets a bit funky such as on the early seventies throwbacks "Adarim" ("Herds") and "Debka" that are in the vein of a kosher Earth, Wind & Fire. At other times they tend toward ambitiously progressive as with the chameleon-like "Lot" featuring fat, bleating organ work, and the seven-minute long "Ruhot HaKefar" ("The Village Winds") whose soaring guitar keeps threatening to take the song somewhere celestial but doesn't quite get there.

In all this album reminds me a tiny bit of some of the more subdued contemporary klezmer bands, but with a little less polka influence and a lot more rock and folk sensibilities. Some of the longer, more progressive passages hearken back to the hazy early seventies days of earthy prog rock, much like some of the (formerly) lost Proto-Kaw recordings or maybe even a bit of Blood, Sweat & Tears but much more folksy.

This is a self-released CD and can be a bit challenging to find. For those who aren't particularly interested in contemporary or progressive folk I wouldn't suggest you make the effort since the songs here aren't likely to win you over to those genres. For those who do find less the traditional forms of folk appealing though, this is a very pleasant and altogether enjoyable collection of Israeli prog folk, a genre that's not all that commonly found in the wild. For those folks I'd encourage you to take the time to find and listen to this one. A solid three stars.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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