Album Review: Seryn [This is Where We Are]

Rating: 8.4

Label: Velvet Blue Music / Spune

Release Date: January 25, 2011

Reminds Me Of: Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes, The National

Every once in a while I manage to stumble upon something good, all by myself. Well, at least without one of my artistically inclined friends telling me about it first. This time around it was the wonderful debut from Denton, Texas’ very own Seryn. I “discovered” these guys while going through Paste Magazine’s “25 Best Songs of 2011 (So Far).” While only a few songs tickled my fancy, Seryn’s “We Will All Be Changed”(#7) really caught my ear. Apparently, I wasn’t alone. Indeed, the smart folks over at Paste have been sweatin‘ these guys for some time. After listening to the album a few times, I understand why.

It would be pretty easy to call these guys (and gal) an American version of Mumford & Sons. Like their English counterparts they play folksy music, feature unique instrumentation, and serve up wonderful multi-part harmonies with great ease. But that would do a disservice to the music on This is Where We Are. Mainly because this isn’t just 5 people sitting in a circle playing folk songs, this is something much bigger. These songs have texture, different movements, and multiple layers that give the music great depth. The melodies (especially the choruses) soar, sounds swell, drums crash, and it all makes way for what is often some epic conclusion. This is no more evident than on “Beach Song,” a tune that seems to go in three different directions before coming to a rousing end. The upbeat “We Will All Be Changed” features a tricky syncopated guitar riff  and a melody too catchy to listen to only once. On “River Song,” Seryn goes with a livelier approach, this time pluggin’ in the guitars and the result is just as good.

If it’s not already obvious, I dig these guys a lot. They have a real knack for songwriting, amazing vocals, and of course they can play. It may take a while, but I suspect you’ll be hearing more about Seryn in the near future, if you haven’t already.

Select Cuts: So Within, We Will All Be changed, River Song, Beach Song

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