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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 166 - 03/30/10

Serena Maneesh
No 2: Abyss In B Minor
Smalltown Supersound/4AD

I didn't quite catch the big issue of Serena's debut EP. It seemed to point in too many general directions. Then there was another EP and the self titled debut album concentrating more on noisy dirty rock, shoegazing to some extent. I wasn't too impressed and gave up after a few spins.

No 2 seems to continue where the debut album ended, but with a little less guitars. Still, there are lots of dirty and distorted guitars and basses here, kind of radio voices, smothering electronic keyboards, warped pianos and mellotrons on the loose. Noise, to some extent, is used as an instrument in between more psonic psunspots. In addition to the eerier moments there are parts of tranquillity with floating harmonious keyboards and seducing female vocals. Still, some ominous omens seem to be lurking underneath, in the abyss, I guess. I have no idea what the lyrics are about, though the titles might give us a clue: "Ayisha Abyss", "I Just Want To See Your Face" and "Blow Yr Brains In The Mourning Rain" (notice the spelling!) hints of several general directions.

At first the music and noises of the album might seem quickly and, to some extent, randomly put together. In fact Emil Nicolaisen, the front man of Serena, is a perfectionist. Along with family and friends he has been striving with the album for about four years. Sufjan Stevens is one of the many friends, b.t.w., though he's hard to discern along with the rest of the none singing artists involved. After some spins, the shapes of the songs begin to stand out and gives us a clue what Emil is aiming at. This is definitely a grower. And eventually I've realised it: Serena Maneesh is an experimental rock band!

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