Heidi Serwer – Palm Tree on the Drywall (2022)

Over the last two years, many of us have been stuck with nothing to do and nowhere to go. Inspired by her feelings during the cold February of 2020, Heidi Serwer turned her emotions into her third EP Palm Tree on the Drywall. With tracks that were written as a way to cope with the isolation and the lonely winter, the EP touches on different memories and experiences woven together to make a tapestry of sound that celebrates life.

While the EP has a very personal foundation, the universality of the experience of isolation we have all gone through makes each track easy to connect with. Made up of some of the most vulnerable songs she has written, the single is a real highlight of her decade of making music. While the songs were written in 2020, Serwer recorded them over the summer with her friend Steve Dawson who also produced the EP.

The EP starts with ‘Anything Else, But’ and the light tones of the acoustic guitar. Serwer’s vocals are intimate as she speaks and whispers her thoughts into your ear. There is a vulnerability to her performance as she releases all the emotions that many of us have felt in the last few years. There is an acceptance of who you are that is intertwined with contrasting emotions of what you would like to do. The strings add an extra plushness to the soundscape while sprinkling a dusting of melancholy. There is something about the whispered vocal performance that allows the words and the emotions they invoke to hit harder.

‘Pine Needles’ has a lighter feeling from the first strummed note. There is a fun and catchy flow to the song that builds through the opening. The deep strum of the guitar keeps a steady pace over the toe-tapping beats and dreamy electronic warbles. As the song progresses, the upbeat vibes increase and put a smile on your face. Through the music and vocals, you are pulled into a good memory with all the sensory sensations that come with it. While your own good memories might not be the same, the track easily has you falling into thoughts of easy summer days. The electric guitar that randomly calls through the soundscape is wonderful adding further textures to the song.

The beat of ‘Paper Flowers’ has your foot tapping before you know what has happened. The almost ambient wavering tones that fill the higher layers of the melody swirl around the acoustic guitar lines. Their combined power is gentle and lifts your spirits filling you with glittering warm energy. Serwer’s vocals are tender as she smiles into the words and furthers the soft landscape of the single. The guitar bridge is wonderful and eases the last stressed bits of your soul. While there is a really relaxed vibe to the song, the lyrics detail the journey back home or to the place where you can find a moment of peace.

The plucked guitar tones of the title track ‘Palm Tree on the Drywall’ fills your mind with summer light streaming through windows. The vocals are a gentle breeze that rustles the trees and grass outside the window. While you feel the warmth of the day created by the music, the lyrics take you back in time to days of carefree happiness. The warbling tones that fill the bridge offer a slightly more melancholic feeling as they bring the sense that these times can never be recaptured. Regardless of the sadness at times, there is a delicate happiness to the song that has you floating on good vibes.

‘Configurable’ uses acoustic guitars in the opening to perfection as it grabs your attention. These guitar lines lead you to a rolling drum line that tumbles you into the light electronic notes. Through all of this, the vocals have a touch of dream-pop with the slightest smile. The vocals have this hopeful vibe that makes you think about the happy times you are going to have in the future when you can connect with people you care about. There is no way to listen to this track and not feel light energy in your chest that chases away the darkness of isolation.

The EP comes to an end with ‘Vitamin D’ that has stripped-back vocals. There is an earthy feeling to the opening guitar line and deep drum beat. Each instrument in the melody has its own thing to say as you waltz down a sonic representation of boredom and isolation. Serwer’s vocals perfectly capture the sighing feeling of being inside all the time and sleeping through sunrise without any care. There is a feeling of the walls closing in that comes through her performance and sighs into an acceptance of everything. This is definitely a single that could work as the anthem of the pandemic and what we all felt during lockdown.

Heidi Serwer pours her feelings during lockdown and a cold February into the tracks of Palm Tree on the Drywall capturing happy memories and the embodiment of boredom. Each track has a unique touch that brings the different emotions we have all felt during the pandemic. There is something infinitely relatable about each track that makes this EP a pleasure to listen to.

Find out more about Heidi Serwer on her website, Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.

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