Album Reviews

Serafin – No Push Collide

(Taste Media) UK release date: 18 August 2003

Serafin - No Push Collide Serafin combine strong pop sensibilities with a hard edge and incendiary live performance; think ‘Blur meets Foo Fighters‘ or ‘Jane’s Addiction meets Weezer.'” These are bold statements, be they the words from an ambitious Serafin or their trusty PR machine. Either way, such a statement requires some introspection, namely the rather abrasive contrast from one auspice to another.

Opener Stephen’s In The Sky is a proto percussion intro to the album which suddenly cuts into the sleazy pop suss of current single Day by Day. Things Fall Apart follows the depressing themes of Stephen’s In The Sky, touching on a breakup in a sad/happy melodic style. No Happy is a brilliant, almost spoken word short story, with the Serafin rhythm section perfectly complementing Ben Fox Smith’s devious delivery. Awkward riffs and Fox Smith’s now lazy croon again showcase some ingenious ability on Numerical.

Due in large to the foursome evading the tendency for British rock acts to ride the carpet of their American counterparts, frontman Ben Fox Smith has a distinct style which prowls between a Brian Molko-with-balls drawl through to all out vocal chord shred-o-rama… Ben, good luck live… Similarly Serafin’s sound has a vintage British feel to it while the strings and production are ingested and spewed, creating a chic 21st century rawness, something few rock acts create in these stripped to the bone, über-producer supremo times.

Where the foursome fall short is, crucially, in the final third. Build High, Tear Low is too damned annoying with clanky melodies and an ill thought-out structure. An anthemic chorus and some hard-edged vocal work from the impressive Fox Smith dispel the Simon Cowell treatment though. Sadly the same can’t be said for the ensuing trio of fillers. It was only after these that I woke up in time for the upbeat, soft-rock ballad Who Could I Be?

Clocking at a sharp 42 minutes, No Push Collide is a world away from the (now clear) PR soundbite. Not that it’s a bad thing. For while the above-mentioned quartet of names may attract eyes and ears, Serafin have kept their heads down and delivered a solid debut. With festival dates and promo touring in the works, Serafin have got the chance to bring their genuinely unique sound to the masses. After that, some experience should help them fulfil the evident potential. Roll on album number two…

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