Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
One of my brothers-in-law seems to be inclined to snap photographs of the scenery outside of his airplane window as the silver birds are scattering the blue particles and parting the clouds, each time he's up there. He uses his phone and clicks a few shots every time he's taking off, or even when he's reached his cruising altitude and the clouds look like mattresses and white trampolines. What he does with them, he doesn't say, but they're his snapshots and they must bring him some sense of joy or amazement. It's one explanation. There are others that are going without thought, but they're less logical. Somehow the pinks, the oranges and the depth perception (all of the shrunken bodies and objects) smooth off the rough edges and coat the carrying on, all of the hustling and bustling below with a sort of careless beauty. Here's wondering if Laura Suzanne, the one shy and unsuspecting woman behind the music of Golden Ghost, stole some of those same sorts of images with a camera the first three or four times she was flying into the wild blue yonder. Here's wondering if - were that the case - she still did it when she was working as a flight attendant for the time that she did such a thing. It always seems amazing, when watching flight attendants working, that being inside the stomach of a plane and collecting rubbish from passengers could be just an average, old thing - the 9-to-5. Handing someone a 6-ounce plastic cup full of tomato juice, charging $6 for a beer and making damn well sure that tray tables and seat backs are in the right position just prior to the initial descent is the same as any other occupational drudgery. Suzanne, in person, doesn't come across as someone who would either a.) be good at such a social and subservient job or b.) enjoy not being able to just stare aimlessly out of the windows and get lost in a sea of fallout. She is quiet as a whisper - if a whisper were carried away on a strong wind, that faintly - and she seems to be comfortable around a select few, Brendon Massei of Viking Moses is one of those people. She and him make an interestingly cerebral pair - just in a songwriting sense as Massei loiters around the reaches of mortality and the people that he's only crossed paths with, while Suzanne points her concerns with the weird and fantastic (I believe that it's sometimes called mystical) subjects, those that could fit into the casework of Ripley's Believe It Or Not, and others that don't. Hers is a non-linear route to the crux of a story and it always involves a brilliant display of imagery and fascination with the places that people she's come into contact with have let themselves go to without fully understanding any of it. It's all very wild-eyed and wide-eyed as if her words and explanations cannot keep up with the tantalizingly juicy sights her eyes are catching nor the expressive and demented tales that sweep into her ears. All of the stories that she applies to her old guitar sound, which spikes and wanes as her feelings do, continue on, giving you the entire story, verbatim. It's all that you need to know and yet it's all set in some fuzzy dressing that isn't so direct and more relies on the powers of curiosity. Her songs pique that curiosity as they travel squiggly lines and encounter the mentally impaired woman who eats nails and such and thinks about her "pregnant" belly as big and tight, filled as it is with chains and things that hold houses together. Suzanne calls is a hysterical pregnancy and then takes the next verse into imagining a bear's belly being big and tight, full of a man it had eaten. The songs are spookily wobbly and moving in their abstractions as she floods them with emotion and inner thoughts that could have come from the clear blue - the pinks and oranges of a dusk takeoff.