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Serafina Steer — The Moths Are Real (Rough Trade Edition) (2013)

 Serafina Steer — The Moths Are Real (Rough Trade Edition) (2013)

Serafina Steer — The Moths Are Real (Rough Trade Edition)
Location: London, England
Album release: 2013
Record Label: Stolen Recordings
Duration:     56:40
CD 1
01. Night Before Mutiny      (5:01)
02. Machine Room      (3:17)
03. Ballad Of Brick Lane      (3:29)
04. Lady Fortune      (4:31)
05. Skinny Dipping      (3:31)
06. The Removal Man      (4:13)
07. World Of Love      (3:46)
08. Has Anyone Ever Liked You?      (1:53)
09. Island Odessy      (3:10)
10. Alien Invasion      (3:39)
11. Disco Compilation      (4:36)
12. The Moths Are Real      (4:12)
CD 2
Moth Club Boiler Woes (Rough Trade Bonus Disc)
01. Sexual Jealousy      (2:07)
02. Fergus’ Song      (2:27)
03. The Third Letter      (1:49)
04. Afraid Or Not      (2:33)
05. Moth Club Boiler Woes –Interlude–      (2:24)
¶   It’ll come as no surprise to listeners of Jarvis Cocker’s BBC 6 Music show that the Britpop bum wiggler would be a fan of Serafina Steer.
¶   The Moths Are Real, the third album from the Peckham multi-instrumentalist, is exactly the kind of curio that Cocker luxuriates in on the radio, a beguilingly odd record where cut-glass vocals deliver arch lyrics while drum machines and unnerving arrangements combine with virtuoso harp. Having declared Steer’s 2010 album Change Is Good, Change Is Good as his favourite of that year, Cocker is on production duties here, his presence understated but tangible.
¶   It would be easy to write Steer off as somewhat precious, with her crisp singing voice expounding on her “scanty life philosophy” and declaring herself “thoroughly contrite”. On tracks such as ‘Alien Invasion’, you can practically hear the punctuation. ¶   And this is before you consider all the fanciful Lewis Carroll-type imagery – all “blue potion” this and “machine room” that. But happily, undercutting it is a withering cynicism and tart humour that mark Steer out as a grittier, funnier – and markedly British – alternative to harping rival Joanna Newsom.
¶   Take the striking opening of ‘Ballad Of Brick Lane’ – “I don’t know why I’m heading to Brick Lane / I hate it there like everybody does” – or withering kiss off ‘The Removal Man’ – “You hate my friends / Yet you fantasise about them as well”. Goodness, there’s even a track called ‘Has Anyone Ever Liked You?’.
¶   And yet, brilliantly, this roguishness isn’t always negative. That latter song’s title is a mischievous red herring, the full lyric running, “Has anyone ever liked you as much as I do?” It reveals itself to be a most tender ballad, reaching the observation, “Babe, maybe we are too peculiar for love”. Similarly, ‘Ballad Of Brick Lane’ progresses from its bolshie beginning to reveal great vulnerability and optimism.
¶   Under Cocker’s aegis, all this mischief and whimsy are complimented well by the enchanting arrangements. ‘Skinny Dipping’s woozy accompaniment transforms a demure bucolic wheeze into a distinctly more provocative concern, while the stabbing organ and quietly insistent percussion on ‘The Removal Man’, coupled with Cocker’s own unmistakeable baritone, succeed in conjuring up the requisite creepiness. It all results in a clever, self-assured record, with Steer and Cocker’s knowing symbiosis apparent at every turn.
¶   Penultimate track ‘Disco Compilation’ makes for one final wild card. Starting with Steer alone with harp, ruminating on dance music’s ability to unite heartbroken souls and heal emotional wounds, it rises up to itself become an unlikely disco gambit, complete with house-y piano and the repeated refrain “Let’s set things right / Tonight, tonight”.
¶   Steer’s formidable intellect, wit and talent meet their match in her illustrious patron, producing an album fit to move, surprise, amuse and unsettle – often at the same time. ¶   And so rather than the fanciful frippery it could so easily have been, The Moths Are Real is instead a fitting document of real life in all its mixed-up glory.SERAFINA STEER In the studio

Born: April 30th, 1982, London, England
Website: http://www.serafinasteer.com/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/drumstreetsefa
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/153158918083622/
¶   Serafina Steer releases her third album, the Jarvis Cocker produced ‘The Moths Are Real’ on January 14 th 2013.. Peckham born and raised, Serafina is a hugely talented and original harp playing multi instrumentalist and vocalist.
¶  Previous albums, the debut ‘Cheap Demo Bad Science’ (2006) and ‘Change Is Good, Change Is Good’ (2010) were both well received, with MOJO awarding the latter 5/5 and Jarvis Cocker cited it as his favourite album of the year. As a consequence he has produced the forthcoming album.
¶  Serafina is accompanied on the new album by amongst others, Steve Mackey, Jarvis Cocker, The Boxettes, Polar Bear’s Seb Roachford and The Flying Lizards’ wizard David Cunningham. Recording took place at The Way Studios, Old Street, The Square in East London, Konk, Fish Factory and St.Leonards Church variously between December 2011 and June 2012.
¶  © 2012 Serafina Steer | Powered by wordpress
--------------------------------------------------------------------                      Against the wall
Bloody Hell, 2011, Stolen Recordings
Japan Tour EP, 2006, Static Caravan
Cheap Demo Bad Science, 2007, Static Caravan
Change Is Good, Change Is Good, 2010, Static Caravan
The Moths Are Real, 2013, Stolen Recordings
"Peach Heart" / "Mano E Mano", 2007, Static Caravan
The Ground Bellow Me (Capitol K version of "Seven Bridge"), 2006 from Utrophia 03 Utrophia
Cheap Demo Bad Science ("They Came From The Stars, I Saw Them" version) 2007, 93 Free CDs
Uncomfortable (Capitol K version), 2007, Stolen Comp, Stolen Recordings

Serafina Steer — The Moths Are Real (Rough Trade Edition) (2013)




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