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CD: Serafina Steer - The Moths Are Real | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Serafina Steer - The Moths Are Real

CD: Serafina Steer - The Moths Are Real

Harpist singer-songwriter's third is a hearty meal of the odd and the emotive

Serafina Steer, turning her nose up at a curry down Brick Lane

Thirty year old London harpist Serafina Steer goes admirably her own way. Her sound is often sparse and acoustic, but never predictably so, and lyrically she’s off-piste, gambolling carefree from the opaque galactic ruminations of “Alien Invasion” to a clear-eyed glance at nude physicality in “Skinny Dipping”.

The song “Island Odyssey”, for instance, appears initially to be a soppy love ballad - “I am a flower/You are a flower” etc – but then suddenly veers wildly into the undergrowth with the line “They killed your pigs and drank your wine”, and the listener is knocked off kilter, wakes up, starts paying proper attention.

Steer could be dismissed as a Joanna Newsome knock-off due to their mutual choice of instrument and wilfully wide-eyed English eccentricity, but she has as much in common with the allegorically emotive songwriting of Emmy the Great, and the music wanders off to places far from either comparison that are very much her own. Much of it is twinkling, quiet, overlaid with Steer’s crystal-precise delivery, but then numbers such as “The Removal Man” and “Disco Compilation” arrive, the former couched in organ-fuelled pulsing psychedelic weirdness and the latter suddenly blooming into analogue synth techno.

Despite not having gained a high profile so far, this is Steer’s third album and she has a host of fans among musicians. She is accompanied by Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey, jazz maverick Seb Rochford and electronic experimentalist Capitol K, among others. It could be suggested that she’s one of those many “ones to watch in 2013”, but she’ll probably go on pootling up her own unique path long after those sorts have disappeared into light entertainment. It's difficult to imagine who else might produce a medieval-flavoured meditation on beauty that opens with the lines, “I don’t know why I’m heading to Brick Lane/I hate it there like everybody does”. For that alone she's worthy of more attention than most.

Watch the video for "Night Before Mutiny"

Lyrically she’s off-piste, gambolling carefree from opaque galactic ruminations to a clear-eyed glance at nude physicality

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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