serpentwithfeet: soil (Secretly Canadian/Tri Angle) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, May 30th, 2024  



Secretly Canadian/Tri Angle

Jun 11, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Serpentwithfeet is Josiah Wise and Josiah Wise is hard to place. He comes with a classically trained voice, a childhood spent singing in churches, and a fascination with the occult. He’s also a queer black man singing about his experiences with an astonishing voice and a dark, operatic sound coiling around soil.

Wise’s debut comes two years after blisters, a short EP marking him out for greater things. Soil expands his range as much as his running time. The music here is richer, dense rhythms and surprising samples wrapped into sensuous tracks detailing love and loss.

Album open “whisper” sets the scene, starting from a way off, gradually drawing near. Every sound, including his powerful voice, is modulated, building to a grandstand finish. “If you whisper, only I will hear you,” Wise repeats over and over, and while he’s singing about someone else the sound wraps in anyone listening.

As tracks flutter by, Wise’s fluctuating vocals continue to depict loves pored over in detail. “Fragrant” finds him declaring “I love all your ex-boyfriends, I love the way they kiss,” while “mourning song” detours into deep sadness.

If a record could be distilled into one track it’s “cherubim,” a sustained burst of synth-coated theatrics. The chorus has Wise singing, “I get to devote my life to him, I get to sing like the cherubim.” That he’s prepared to drift off into erotic and spiritual imagery, laying himself bare in such a vulnerable and emotive way is one of the delights of the year. (

Author rating: 8/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 5/10


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.