The Album You Didn’t Know You Needed… Until Now
Any band who defines their music as a “mermaid falling into a black hole” is a band I most definitely want to listen to. What does that even sound like? What genre expectations could that possibly fulfill? Charlotte-based group Serfs saw an opportunity to define their sound as such and took it without looking back.
Before finally hearing the highly anticipated full length-album from Serfs, entitled Day Hang, I poked through their various social media accounts to get some kind of idea as to what I was getting myself into. I follow their record label, Self Aware Records, on Twitter and, after reading dozens of their tweets about how great this album was supposed to be, decided to give them a chance. I stumbled upon their Facebook page shortly after Googling their name and saw this:
I decided right then and there that I would stop trying to figure them out and just let their music happen to me; I got my speakers out, plugged in my phone, and let the album play on repeat while I pretended to clean the house.
As Day Hang filled my kitchen with beachy vibes and retro sounds, I could tell I was going to love this album within the first 30 seconds of hearing the opening track, “Can’t Get Control.” The deep bass line and haunting guitar riffs quickly claimed my heart. The beachy vibes I mentioned earlier can be found throughout the entire album, but with a steady mix of punk and grunge to keep things fresh.
Perhaps the best song on the album is a monster of a jam called “Arab Street” that clocks in at 7:53. The first two minutes of the song are simple yet mesmerizing vocals and an eerie chord progression. Then, after the guitar fades and the vocals are hushed, drums come crashing onto the track and a completely new sound is introduced. The next six minutes are a whirlwind of instruments, fuzzy vocals, and, if you’re anything like me, lots of head-banging.
Vocalist Phil Pucci said that “Arab Street” was the product of a nasty breakup between their former drummer and the rest of the band in 2013. After she stole equipment from their shared practice space, texted pictures of the stolen equipment to the band, and demanded compensation for the window the band supposedly broke at her family’s house, the former drummer finally left all equipment on the front porch for the guys to pick up. To the right is a picture Pucci uploaded to Instagram when the band retrieved their gear and chose to move past the undesirable situation. Instead, they channeled their frustration into something creative: a new album. Although Pucci remembers the band being “totally bewildered at the whole ordeal,” the guys decided against breaking up, and chose start over with a clean slate.
“We opted never to play our old material again, write new songs as a trio, and not worry about replacing our drummer,” recalls Pucci.
Fast forward a few days and the band began to discuss where they wanted to take their sound. As a result, “Arab Street” was born.
“It wasn’t originally very long- the middle section was the whole song for awhile,” stated Pucci. “The noisy, noodly end section was improvised at practice, and I started hearing the intro section in my head and so we worked that into the song too.”
One of my favorite things about this album is the track order; in particular, the transition between “Arab Street” and the closing track, “You’ll Never Be Good To Me.” The final song on Day Hang is totally retro and quite different from the other songs; the vocals are clearer, the beat is simple, and the guitars riffs are reminiscent of 1950s love ballads. In fact, Pucci claimed that YNBGTM is not only the song he is most excited about playing live, but also is “most indicative of where we’re going with our sound after Day Hang.”
If the unique “mermaid falling into a black hole” genre can be used to describe how awesome Day Hang is, then I am all in. According to Pucci, the phrase was created by writer John Doran when he attempted to describe what My Bloody Valentine sounds like.
“It’s part of the imagery I had in my head while we were recording the album, so I wanted to put it on our site!” stated the vocalist.
The best part about Serfs is that they are a Charlotte-based band, meaning I’ll get plenty of chances to catch a show before they grow into the fame they deserve. You can pick up Day Hang on their Bandcamp and find their tour schedule below. The band is headed back to the studio in April to track six songs, so look out for new music in late Spring/early summer!
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