It's hard to believe that serpentwithfeet, who grew up singing in an all-boys choir, was told at a young age that his vibrato was a problem. He has since graduated from the church choir, releasing his critically-acclaimed debut album soil in June of 2018. He pulled zero punches on soil, letting his vibrato take the wheel as he boasted powerful vocal runs on fan-favorites, such as "messy" and "bless ur heart." The album was lauded by critics as genre-bending and avant-garde and firmly established serpentwithfeet as a rising baroque artist.
Now, the avant-garde artist releases his highly anticipated follow-up, Apparition. The brief extended play punches in at a mere eight minutes and was exclusively produced by Wynne Bennett (Janelle Monae, Twin Shadow).
Featuring melancholy vocal delivery and meticulously placed scales, "A comma" serves as a reminder of the captivating lyricism that serpentwithfeet commands. The song elicits a deep sense of sorrow; lines like, "I'm dressing wounds I cannot see / Someone else's beasts are riding me," tug persistently at the heartstrings.
"This Hill" sees serpentwithfeet ascend to an ethereal falsetto against a backdrop of ambient synths. The soaring instrumental displayed on "This Hill" manifests the cinematic grandiosity of a film score. With a soothing chant, serpentwithfeet repeats the mantra, "I'm better now," gently absolving himself of the pain he endures on "A comma."
The EP closer, "Psychic," stars the effortless vocal runs that brought soil critical acclaim. The floating keys create a lullaby-like sound, which the decisive percussion cuts through beautifully. The song is about serpentwithfeet falling in love with his psychic, whom he calls his "debonair soothsayer." "Psychic" underscores his flair for the celestial, both in the subject matter and in the song's airy quality.
serpentwithfeet's name carries an unsettling, unnatural quality (evidently, snakes do not have feet) that is reflected in the otherworldliness of his music. A sense of unpredictability persists throughout Apparition, whether it be on "A Comma," where he goes up an octave in the chorus, or in the vocal layering that he introduces in "This Hill." This unpredictability is a nod to serpentwithfeet's ability to create music that transcends what we expect of it.
Listen to Apparition below: