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The Moths Are Real

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (14 Jan. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: PIAS.
  • ASIN: B00A6JO7YK
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,058 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Play in Library Buy: £0.69
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Play in Library Buy: £0.69
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Product Description

BBC Review

Serafina Steer plays a harp and sings in a dew-fresh style that lends itself well to storytelling. Cue regular comparisons, then, to any and all women who play music that rightly or wrongly (mostly wrongly) is defined as quirky folk pop, such as Beth Jeans Houghton or, as always happens with harp pluckers, Joanna Newsom.

Forget them all, though. She goes her own way, does Steer.

Steer’s 2010 album Change is Good, Change is Good didn’t reach anything like enough ears, but it did get those in the know excited. Including a certain Jarvis Cocker.

So bewitched was Cocker by a sound that was part faeries-in-the-city psychedelic singer-songwriting and part library music electronica – a result of her harp being nicked – that he agreed to produce this third album.

Steer’s other wingmen here include Capitol K, Pulp’s Steve Mackey and, excitingly for anyone fond of mad-as-a-hatter pop, The Flying Lizards’ David Cunningham. Really though, we’re just namedropping, because Steer still sounds like the singular – nay, peculiar – talent she always has, only bigger and fuller.

Things remain pared back, but an ambition nurtured by classical training keeps things interesting. There’s the pulsing, Philip Glass-goes-antifolk of Lady Fortune; a spooky, organ-led psychedelic anthem to breaking up (The Removal Man); and an indie-disco Saint Etienne by way of Cecil Sharp House (Disco Compilation).

Elsewhere, a denouncement of trendy Brick Lane with notes of gospel (Ballad of Brick Lane), and cosmic guitar picking (Alien Invasion).

And as for that laydee-folk tag, perhaps Anne Briggs is an influence, if only because Steer’s voice is so nakedly itself. And there is a flash of Jackson C Frank’s My Name is Carnival in spartan opener, Night Before Mutiny.

But there’s nothing else mossy about this. In fact, like the droll yet odd tales weaved by David Thomas Broughton, Steer sings deliciously barbed songs about the city – and, you know, space abduction, skinny-dipping, that sort of thing.

Steer asks for too much when she wants to be aligned with Alice Coltrane instead of “this folky-girly-pigeonhole-harp-thing”. But she is harder to define (and more brilliant) than you might imagine.

--Chris Parkin

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Syriat TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Jan. 2013
Format: Audio CD
Serafina Steer's latest offering builds on her reputation and adds to the mix. Jarvis Cocker is on production duties and there is a real breadth here on display. For those who don't know Serafina she is a harp player with singer songwriter tendancies towards the more folky end of the musical spectrum. She has a very listenable voice which seems familiar. The arrangements are sparse and there is a real good emphasis on melody and there are some strong numbers on here. Some are surprising as well.

The album starts with folk leaning strings on Night Before Mutiny and Machine Room. Lyrically there is also a lot going on as well. Lady Fortune is another folky number with just a slow build and great delivery. You might be thinking Joanna Newsom here, but the songs are shorter and far more accessible for the most part and more diverse. I keep saying diverse as you will think you will have this pegged on first listen as a singer songwriter folk influenced album. until you reach the final third. Island Odessy starts moving the folk into the new age and then, almost magically, Disco Compilation come in quietly as a folk number and turns into a full blown dance number - this could be a crossover hit if it gets airplay as it truly is a wonderful number. Think Suzanne Vega and Tom's Diner and how that was different - that's what this is.

It doesn't all work. However, there is enough here that pulls at your ears for repeated listens that makes this well worth checking out. 2013 has just started very well.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Londoner Serafina Steer, is an Indie/Folk singer/songwriter who specialises in playing the Harp.
After hearing her previous release, "Change is Good Change is Good", Jarvis Cocker was so taken by it's originality, he decided to produce this her latest recording, "The Moths Are Real".
It's an album of eccentricity, beauty an no little invention. Lyrically it's clever and querky, at times sensial.
Serafina's pure clear vocals accompanied by her trusty Harp along with gentle synths and sweeping strings at times in the mix all go to make this an extremely enchanting album.
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Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Serafina Steer is a real talent, clever but not annoyingly so and an unquestionable musianship. Clever lyrics that don't follow the usual verse chorus routine and just stunning songs. Reminded me somewhat of the stuff that The Ravishing Beauties were doing in the early 80's, but that is no bad thing.
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