SERA – Switch (CEG Records)

SERA – Switch (CEG Records)

Welsh songwriter SERA has returned with single Switch from album When I Wake Up, blending folk, pop, Americana and Country around a folklore theme.

Track: Switch
Label: CEG Records
Released: 14 August 2020
Find it: Spotify

In the dark chaos rules. Whether a hibernation or a hiding, emerging will see a different form, and changed for better or worse there is a power found. It’s this transformation of self which Welsh singer-songwriter SERA on recent single Switch, taken from her new album When I Wake Up.

Switch is described as a ‘bolt out of the dark’ and melodically this is a fit – as strings, complex rhythms, and voice dance around each other. They go on to say it is ‘a harsh awakening. Empowerment.’ Lyrically this is referenced through realisation, independence, self-sovereignty and the sentiments are infused with joy as well as resolution.

It’s not the first time SERA has created Americana-infused tracks filled with the imagery, the lessons, and the evocations of folklore. Here the track is ‘drawing inspiration from Steam-punk, Frankenstein and the ‘Freak Lab-accident’ trope of the comic superhero’ which along with solid electric guitar slicing through moves this toward the ideology of story-telling, myth-building folk while leaving the sound most common in the genre behind.

There may well be a country-twang to that bright guitar, but we’re closer to ’80s alt-rock than any kind of intricately finger-picked balladeering. More broadly across the album the folklore comes thematically from the European tradition while the melody grows from American roots. This gives an interesting blend, which with smooth and cinematic sweeps in the production from Andi Crutwell-Jones, builds this album into a pageant rather than a quiet fireside telling.

Having grown up in Caernarfon, North Wales, a place steeped in history, culture, between the Snowdonia Mountains and the Irish sea, you could understand her love of folklore and how landscape is a big source of inspiration behind her music. Matching that to a big, rounded, Americana sound makes this an album which shines a new light into the shadows of the wild woods, and adds a modern agency to age-old fairytale tropes.

Switch is a great entry point to the album – Big, bold, and shining with the growing confidence of a singer-songwriter who knows not only what she wants to tell but how she wants that story to sound.

When I Wake Up is out now on CEG Records.

Find SERA: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Spotify | Bandcamp
Image: The Shoot

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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