Published Jun 04, 2018On soil, singer-songwriter serpentwithfeet explores love with a burning intensity that borders on fanatical. Ever eclectic, he blends the sweeping, spiritual sounds of gospel with the theatrical trill of R&B and the sombre throb of electronic music to deliver a bigger, warmer sound than his previous work.
In every sense, soil is an exercise in taking up space. "mourning song" starts as a modest whisper, but quickly blooms into a stirring elegy, while "cherubim" is equal parts tragic and triumphant, with its thumping percussion and fleshy vocals. The album's closer, "bless us heart," occupies two contrasting spaces: it ebbs and swells beautifully, sometimes bold and mighty, other times dainty and delicate.
serpentwithfeet's focus on expansiveness backfires at times, though. He is an impressive songwriter whose lyrics are, for the most part, elegant. But his words creep toward melodrama at times (see "fragrant") — his poetic tendency is a strength that occasionally doubles as a weakness.
Still, small mistakes are the price an artist pays for taking risks. And overall, soil is a courageous effort where serpentwithfeet's bravery pays off. (Secretly Canadian)