Written By: Fletcher Bonin
On his latest EP, blisters, serpentwithfeet challenges our normally held conceptions of genre and musical style. Though Apple Music classifies him as an R&B or soul singer, I find this to be an incredible oversimplification. In truth, serpentwithfeet is in a class all his own. His music can only be described as electronic gospel. Think Frank Ocean with jazzy background synths and similarly deep, transient content expressed through wavering, controlled vocals. Think the slow beauty of Solange’s music with the operatic range of Queen. The EP seems to express so much more content than simply the five tracks listed. To listen to the whole project through would only take you twenty-one minutes, and yet serpentwithfeet is able to communicate a lifetime within this finite unit of time. Taken together as a complete project, blisters is replete with artistry and emotion. It is not just a story but a saga, sung to us from the unknown and trying to make sense of the apparent chaos of life’s changes.
The first track, ‘blisters’, also the name of the EP shimmers into our headphones transiently, setting the ethereal tone that will last for the remainder of the project. Serpentwithfeet’s voice comes in high, as though it too were another instrument in his control, complemented perfectly by the swelling score behind him. The song builds into a hymnal feel, complete with slow clapping and melodic humming, calling to mind the electronic gospel feeling that characterizes his music. He sings into the abyss, to an unknown recipient of this sung prayer, “pretend me loving you was not a big deal…kiss me, kiss me.”
The next track, ‘flickering’ has a similarly religious feel, serpentwithfeet singing, “the cord connecting us two was made of gossamer, I’m starting to feel there is no cord between us, it hurts that you won’t join me.” On each track his range is showcased, singing almost exclusively in a throbbing tenor that both enchants as well as haunts.
Personally, I found the EP’s final track ‘redemption’ to be the most powerful of the compiled songs. This is largely due to the fact that the song is lyrically very strong, as he sings “somehow I thought the sweet perfume of untruths rotting inside your belly could free me, could free me.” I find this sentiment both thought provoking and unsettling. Blisters is a beautiful EP and a creative masterpiece. While it is certainly not the most ‘easy-listening’ or carefree music to enjoy, it certainly is worth checking out.
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