I’m not sure serpentwithfeet can really be classed an ‘underrated’ given all the plaudits he regularly attracts, but I still don’t think he’s quite given as much due as perhaps he deserves. His output this year has been truly remarkable – DEACON is unquestionably one of the best albums of the year – and he seems to have fully found his groove, nailing the emotions without losing sight of the subtlety of production that makes him stand out. Down Nuh River is moody, understated and – yet again – outrageously good.
I tried and failed to enjoy serpentwithfeet’s 2018 album soil so many times. It’s clearly really good, but I could just never get into it: it felt too detached and disjointed, like it was trying to trip you up and eject you just as you felt you were finally getting locked in. Since then it’s felt like every release has been a step towards something I would love, and with his new album DEACON, that journey has been fully realised. I REALLY this album, and Old & Fine is everything I wanted but didn’t get from his earlier work: an emotionally-rich record with depth that’s also easy to enjoy and appreciate without having to work too hard. I can’t imagine he’s been tweaking his career with me in mind, but it certainly feels that way.
I’ve always liked serpentwithfeet a lot more in theory than in practice, and have found a lot of his previous stuff a little impenetrable, even after multiple listens. A Comma is the first record of his I’ve liked immediately: it’s definitely way more accessible than anything on his last album, and his voice really shines when accompanied by this more stripped-back, less hectic production.