One thing that’s certain is that Serf and James, a multi-genre duo who hail from the California wine mecca that is Napa, definitely don’t like to keep their sound or their songs conventional. On their debut four-song EP Wav, the pair display their penchant for alt rock, blues, indie, pop, surf rock and even a hint of reggae if only briefly.
The reason for all these influences seems to lie in the many different influences between the band’s two founding members whose musical yin and yang seems pretty evenly represented on Wav. One can determine from the variety of influences found on Wav that the pair definitely listen to a lot of different styles of music.
Wav opens with “Sometimes Love,” a rock ballad that that chugs along and contains hints of the old metal ballad finger picking that would become more intense just before it exploded into a wall of noise and screams. That doesn’t happen on “Sometimes Love” and the pair opts instead for a more jazzy and rhythmic ending, which comes as a welcomed surprise.
Next on the dance-y and acoustic alt country jam the pair show off that warm California sound and then add a bit of bluesy electric guitar in for the solo. Singer James here sounds every bit the California bard, lending his vocals a slightly high pitch rasp, (think a quieter or more subdued Robert Plant) which is pleasant and catchy and pairs perfectly with Serf’s spot on acoustic finger picking.
On “Et Alia” the band takes a stab at indie-pop with the catchy chorus “3, 2, 1, 2, 3/Et alia/3, 2, 1, 2, 3” and once again bring a spritely bit of reggae guitar to nicely upset the balance of what could normally been expected, like just another wankin’ solo.
On the final track “Wishes” a piano and acoustic alt-country ballad, the pair add quiet backing vocals and even some xylophone taps. Here James shows his vocal range and gives Coldplay’s Chris Martin a run for his money.
Wav is a good first record full of well-crafted songs that vary in genre but in that magical way sound like they’re still being played by the same band. It’s an EP that has peaked my interest and leaves me wondering what they have up their sleeves for a full length.
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