Serpentwithfeet pauses and catches his breath on "A Comma," by releasing a whole new EP.

It's been a rocket sled of the last few years for Josiah Wise, otherwise known as serpentwithfeet. In fact, his entire musical trajectory has been like a roman candle, rising hot and sharp and fast and colorful, smashing through the gates with his debut album, soil. Serpentwithfeet's serpentine HD future pop is like no one else on Earth. His sonic pallet and unique songwriting just gets more distinctive with each new release. "A Comma" ratchets this up even higher with his brand new EP, Apparition.

Serpentwithfeet's music exists in the interplay of the hyperreal and the classical, like neon flowers bursting from some Greco-Roman marble ruins, twining and soaring to form some soaring tower to rival Mount Olympus. Soil was a perfect blend of classic Soul, a la Otis Redding, with the futurist sound mangling of artists like Arca or FKA Twigs. Strange sonic shapes writhed and wriggled in the background of Wise's confessional ballads, like a Renaissance painting laced with holograms and CCTVs.



"A Comma" finds these futuristic tendencies stripped back, til they're barely there. In fact, "A Comma" is, almost entirely, just a song. A damn fine song. It's built around Wise's glowingly warm vocals and understated piano, like a trellis around which Serpentwithteeth's morning glories may reach for the sun. To put it bluntly, and plainly, Josiah Wise doesn't need gimmicks or trickery to be one of the most interesting and downright moving artists working today, in any genre.

"A Comma" deals in contradictions. Wise begins with the metaphor of shutting a window and then expecting God to conjure a breeze. He goes on to explore a series of contradictory impulses, with the image of the breath-taking punctuation serving as the central metaphor. "Let me keep going," Wise seems to be saying. "Please give me a break."

A break is something we all need, right about now. Paying even cursory attention to the news will age you a year in an hour. It's exhausting. It's overwhelming. And it's still accelerating. Somehow, in spite of it all "A Comma" manages to sound hopeful, optimistic. "I won't carry a heavy heart into next year," croons Wise foolhardily. We Are: The Guard don't know where he gets his stamina and fortitude from. We wonder if he'd share?

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J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.