Serafina Steer – The Moths Are Real (2013)
If I said contemporary folk and harp in the same sentence, your first thought might well be Joanna Newsom, though indeed it perhaps should be Serafina Steer.
Steer hails from London, UK, and she has impressed enough people along the way to assemble quite a bunch of collaborators for this, her third album. Jarvis Cocker produces, while Polar Bear’s Seb Roachford, Pulp’s Steve Mackay, The Flying Lizards’ David Cunningham, as well as electronica musician Capitol K and composer Simon Bookish, all feature.
Despite this ensemble, the main sound on this album is a stripped-back modern indie-folk music concentrating on Steer and her harp. She has a fantastic voice, which she uses as an instrument, gliding her smooth melodies over the music, reminding me a lot of Joni Mitchell, as well as Tori Amos and, at times, Bjork and Laura Marling. Her harp is beautifully played, giving flavour and warmth to the tracks. Some tracks are more stripped back than others, with interest coming from those additional musicians, straying into some more experimental territory at times, whilst maintaining a glorious folk tradition.
Not all the tracks push my buttons, I’ll be honest, but those which I like certainly outweigh those which I don’t, and overall this is a good album.
Favourite tracks: Machine Room, Lady Fortune, The Removal Man
Spotify link: Serafina Steer – The Moths Are Real