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SUSTO

& I'm Fine Today – 2017 (Missing Piece/Caroline)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by SUSTO

SUSTO's "& I'm Fine Today" finds the band struggling to stay feeling fine. The rocking single "Waves," for example, asks: "Way so much trouble?/We're living in such a remarkable place." In other words, shouldn't those living in a veritable paradise be relatively trouble free? (We all know the sad answer to that question).

Singer Justin Osborne, vocalizes these troubled songs with a scratchy, yearning voice. And these songs many times address troublesome issues. "Hard Drugs" find him waking up from a dream where he was doing hard drugs, while "Gay in the South" looks at life from a gay man's perspective; one where his family has told him he's going straight to hell because of his lifestyle. Maybe it's why "Waves" advises a kind of surfer's philosophy; you just need to "ride it out" sometimes because you certainly cannot always control all your circumstances.

The music is mainly country-flavored rock. However, "Diamond's Icaro" takes on a bluegrass-y feel, both with its acoustic guitar base and gospel-y lyrics. These words - about going to an afterlife place like heaven - seem a little out of place, though, when Osborne later sings of being an atheist during "Cosmic Cowboy."

'Fine' is what most of us say - and usually without thinking - when others ask us how we're doing. But know well that when you ask how SUSTO is doing, they're going to give it a whole lot of deep thought to the question, with bluntly honest answer.