When we first heard ‘Wild Lavender’ as a teaser to SERENA’s EP Welcome to Wasteland, we felt her powerful call deep in our soul. Now, the EP is out and ready to dive into themes of mental health, climate change and self-love. Through the four tracks of the EP, she combines spoken word poetry with dark pop soundscapes.
While two of the tracks have been released as singles and have filled us with their powerful tones, how they fit into the EP as a whole is interesting. Across the tracks, SERENA offers greater insight into her personal world and musicality. A truly mesmerising EP, it will leave you awash with the powerful emotions she is able to invoke.
The EP opens with ‘Wild Lavender’ which takes on climate change and the political attitude. Opening with whispered vocals, the spoken-word lyrics are poetic and mesmerising. The dark expanses of power woven into her vocals cut through your chest and are enhanced by the melody. A mixture of sound samples, the melody swirls around you creating the darkness that allows the vocals to truly shine. This is a really intense start to the EP and perfectly sets the tone.
‘Ophelia’ continues the dark waves of the music through the soft tones of the melody. While as powerful as the opening track, this one hits in a different way. Where the opening was a mesmerising dark draw, this track is a storm that sweeps you up in its currents before you realise it is even there. There is a lot of emotion packed into this song as SERENA brings emotional struggles to light. While the track was written about her struggles in the aftermath of hurricane Ophelia, there is a deeper sense woven into the dark vibes of the track that transcend this.
The short track ‘Mind the Gap’ is just under a minute but acts as the perfect break from the emotional hits of the last two tracks. A cacophony of sound samples that many people face every day, the song brings a sense of reality and how overwhelming it can be to life. The multiple layers of sounds from the Underground do get your heart racing with their pace before you are hit with a staccato beat toward the end. This bleeds into the next track to create a further sense of cohesion through the EP.
The EP come to a close with ‘Streetlights’ that picks up the dying tones of ‘Mind the Gap’ and covers them in a gentler tone. The soaring tones that dampen the sound samples bring a dusky feeling to the music. Through this song, you can feel the slowing down of the world that comes with the transition from day to night. There is a different type of darkness that weaves through the threads of the track that eases your soul before the beats start to hit you. Her vocals are tender as she lays out her thoughts and emotions for everyone to see. While emotional there is also a sense of resolution in her performance that makes you feel like you can move on from the dark and depressing experiences you have.
SERENA hits you with powerful emotions through the tracks of her EP Welcome to Wasteland. Each track focuses on a different theme while dredging dark emotions and offering a touch of light to help you get through them. While there is a seriously personal edge to the EP, SERENA is able to draw you into her emotions and turn them into your own with effortless ease.