Seraphina - Altar
7.8Overall Score
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I‘ve been lucky, I have to say that. I had the chance to see Seraphina playing live on a stage by chance, a few weeks ago. She was among the supporting acts for Freddie Dickson and she won me over in no time, performing in full her debut EP, ‘Altar’. I immediately felt her sound could be described as something “noir”, her voice emerging through minimalistic piano accompaniments and a clever use of choirs. Not to mention the sharp songwriting, certainly not easy to take, therefore  – to me – even more fascinating.

The four tracks of the artist’s first offering are an introspective journey. ‘Lion & Lamb’, the opening track, kicks off with a combination of complicated chord progressions and a sharp use of semitones. The soundscape gives the whole picture a halo of solemnity, and, to be honest, it’s exactly what I like the most about Seraphina and this release.

‘Morphine’ is the real breakthrough, one of those tunes that leave me breathless. Seraphina‘s voice is velvety and warm, it slowly becomes a soft touch on my heart. She sings about addiction to that form of love that leaves you powerless and incapable of reacting. “I wrote ‘Morphine’ about the kind of love that is toxic and ruinous, but that you can’t quite seem to let go. – says the artist about the track – It’s loosely based on a guy I used to be completely and utterly in love with, which just lasted way longer than it should have and was just constant, endless hurt and heartbreak. It’s that feeling of being so broken by a love, but also being kind of addicted to the pain because it’s been part of you for so long, so you hold on even though it’s poisoning your insides.”

The second half of the EP is comprised of and unplugged version of ‘Bodies’ and the title-track, ‘Altar’. A melancholic piano plays as a coat for Seraphina’s voice, which reaches highs yet unexpected. Once again, this talented songwriter showcases all her skills, creating a soft soundscape where the intense lyricism takes the scene. It happens the same in the final chapter of this extended-play, where a chorus of mumbled voices highlights the intro. The track grows slowly, with sudden changes of style and direction, becoming perhaps that one number that could better explain what Seraphina is looking for on her journey, while she tries to combine sounds and emotions.

‘Altar’ is a hymn to self-discovery, an exploration of strengths and weaknesses of the human mind. Seraphina describes her music as a church for sinners, a safe port to find relief and one of its themes focuses on the “several heavens and hells we choose for ourselves”. She clearly identifies in toxic love one of those demons. Something we need to fight off, indeed.

Self-released | 2017

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