Magic, folklore, and mysterious worlds are brought to life on Welsh singer-songwriter SERA’s latest album, When I Wake Up. Pulling from a variety of influences, SERA challenges the pervasive concept that folk and Americana artists have to live in a perpetual melancholic funk or, in the alternative, reel out a slew of toe-tapping country jams. Instead, When I Wake Up always has something unexpected around each corner. Tempo changes abound while lead instruments trade off between songs to keep the listener’s attention throughout.
The gem of the album is its most recent single, “Switch.” The song’s pulse raising tempo, dynamic vocals, and bold electric guitar gave it enough rock edge that it was featured in our indie/alternative music blog’s playlist when it was released a few weeks ago. The song packs a power that translates across genres.
Also fast paced, the fiddle led “The Door” is another standout, not just for its anthemic grandeur, but for the full display of SERA’s soaring vocals. The song has an undeniably epic feel from beginning to end.
While the up-tempo tracks are what grabs your initial attention, it’s the slower works like “Old School” that show SERA’s true range. As electronic and acoustic guitars trade licks to form the melody, the lyrics share a classic love song. Drawing a reminder to folk country ballads of the 70’s and 80’s, you could easily imagine people slow dancing to it at a proper honky-tonk in Nashville.
Sometimes we need a reminder that not all the roots in roots music are planted in American soil—folk music has a world influence and When I Wake Up demonstrates that with sonic majesty.