Susan Fassbender (1959–1991)[was an English singer, songwriter and musician, best remembered for the single “Twilight Café” which reached No. 21 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1981. The song was co-written by guitarist Kay Russell, who would be he writing partner throughout her career. Susan Fassbender & Kay Russell songs have been re-released in recent times, in various collections, to critical acclaim.
Building A Dream follows up the highly successful 2012 release Twilight Café – (The Demo Collection 1981-1985) which received glowing reviews in Record Collector magazine and on Pennyblackmusic (‘‘one of the best collections of songs you will hear all year’’).
Building A Dream brings together further recordings by Susan Fassbender and Kay Russell including demos remastered from cassette as well as some vinyl tracks. In addition to this second volume of studio performances, June 17th also sees the release of a 10 track live album, recorded in 1981. Once again, these recordings are released with approval of both the Fassbender family and Kay Russell.
“Building a Dream (The Demo Collection Volume 2)” has 17 songs steeped in eighties pop with plenty of guitars and analog synthesizers. Susan Fassbender and Kay Russell seem to dare us to compare the pop music of yesteryear to the pop music of now, which is something of a hall-of-mirrors exercise.
Kay and Susan were a fascinating partnership. And this album may even be the best place to start to understand what the two were about. Their simple melodic hooks were breathtakingly catchy, as were the instruments playing the main riff sounds.
The duo produced an edgy alternative pop sound with a penetrating presentation that would give your coffee the jitters, and it’s that sound that is captured on this album. Listen to the ethereal and tantalizing “I Loved You” and then catch the contrasting upbeat push of “Tired Of Saying Goodbye”, to grasp how far to each musical boundary Susan Fassbender and Kay Russell pushed their pop song writing.
From the opening bars of “Building A Dream” to the final refrain of “I Do (For You)” Susan and Kay come at you with a vengeance, and they give no quarter. This is raw, edgy stuff that will get your attention with the first cut, and by the time you reach the end of the album the first time through, you’re hooked. They get you and they get you good. Considering that this stuff is 35 years old, that is no mean feat indeed.
In between the mix you can catch Kay Russell singing on the eclectic ballad “Can’t Get You Out Of Mind” and the spirited “Sky Flier”. Also not to be missed, are the tracks “Commander” and “You Want Me” featuring the solid vocals of Chris Rothwell. Without question, both Susan Fassbender and Kay Russell were driving forces of 80’s edgy pop.
They both had strong, distinctive voices and genius songwriting skills, and knew how to use them. And the term “subtle” was not in their vocabulary at the time. They gave everything they had on every song, and they had quite a bit to give, judging by the music on “Building a Dream (The Demo Collection Volume 2)”!
Order the album here on iTunes