Susannah Cutler’s music as Yours Are The Only Ears communicates the same sort of intimacy as the band name. Hers are small, gentle songs in the indie-pop tradition. They take the form of lo-fi synth-pop (“To Be Alone”) or spare acoustic balladry (“Fire In My Eyes”) or muted pop-rock (“Enter Me”), but — on her new album Knock Hard, at least — they all share the sensibility of a one-on-one conversation.
Even when Cutler sings something as evocative as, “I remember when she laid in the dark with me/ And we gave all the ghosts we could see a name,” she seems to be sing-whispering it directly to you, her listener-turned-confidant. This effect has unnerving consequences when things take a dark turn: “I recall my hands around your throat/ In the darkness of our hole/ The colors are all muddy now/ My angry footprint on your mouth.” Mostly it’s extremely ingratiating. The way she breathes, “Oh, where does the time go?” on Knock Hard closing track “Low,” the words become a secret message whispered directly into your ear — which, again, the band name is on-point.
Musically, she lives up to her identity as an art-school undergrad haunting Brooklyn DIY spaces, but there’s a substance and maturity to her songwriting that runs deeper than a trendy sound from a trendy scene — chalk it up to the bluesman dad and the country singer mom, I guess? Cutler has shared quite a few tracks from Knock Hard already, but there’s much more goodness to behold when you stream the full album below.
Knock Hard is out 5/11 on Team Love. Pre-order it here.