Soft and sensual harmony
Josiah Wise, performing under the musical alias serpentwithfeet, has released his latest album, DEACON, on the 26th of March. Known for his deeper themes in past musical collections, Wise has released a positive collection that is calmer and more restrained. His intention for DEACON is to take on a sensuous tone, and he imbues each lush tune with lyrics that look on the bright side. The result is an album that is sure to brighten any mood and serve as the perfect music for a candlelit dinner date.
Josiah Wise was born in Baltimore, Maryland, under a religious family, meaning his first musical influences include gospel music. DEACON demonstrates some of these ideas of gospel music with its previously mentioned positive notes and its powerful use of harmony. “Hyacinth” is the first demonstration of this idea with its distant and wispy vocals layered on top of dystopian instrumentals. “Dawn,” the shortest piece on the album, is purely composed of vocal harmony and is a dazzling parallel to gospel music. Wise’s wish for a sensuous tone is accomplished first through “Same Size Shoe,” with its joyfully-in-love omen and sweet repetition, followed by “Amir,” in which he is asking someone on a date. “Derrick’s Beard” features sensual whispering with a gentle melodic appeal.
Tracks such as “Wood Boy” and “Fellowship” use percussion to elevate the romantic feel to one that is less calm and more dramatic. Still, Wise never loses the restraint he is aiming for with this collection. Each piece on the album is complete, and every piece of music falls perfectly into place. Every harmony is on point, and every lyric is beautifully clear and simple yet incredibly effective.
Serpentwithfeet must be commended for his success in clearly describing his emotions. Wise is not only lyrically talented but the layering of instrumentals in pieces such as “Sailors’ Superstition” and “Heart Storm” speaks for itself, the lyrics serving as just an echo. In DEACON, Wise manages to take his emotions and express them through music that resembles gospel music’s beauty and joy, including its earth-shaking balance and emotion.