[Album Review] Mas Ysa- Seraph
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Release Date: July 24th, 2015
Label: MapleMusic / Downtown Records

Thomas Arsenault breathes with intense realness with every word that he says and if you’ve ever seen him live, you can even feel that intensity. It’s funny because Seraph is actually toned down compared to his few single and EP releases but that doesn’t mean that same vigor isn’t there.

The hectic heartbeats of the title track are what opens the album. It comes off as melodyless as Arsenault is basically chanting over the beats over the convulsions. The album moves back and forth between EDM-inspired tunes to good old indie rock. “Margarita” is a prayer for his mother not to leave him too soon. The multi-instrumentalist colours the tune with flute and saxophone always striking the perfect balance between experimental and pop music. He never gives you the feeling that things are too weird or too safe.

“Look Up” has some religious undertones but are hidden beneath some of the most addictive arrangements on the entire album. It is then followed by the heartbreaking song “Sick”.

“I don’t want another one. I don’t wanna learn nobody’s touch. She won’t want to drink this much. Fuck her,” a repeated lyric Arsenault “Suffer”. This is a vengeful tune for an ex where his dark lyrics are juxtaposed by playful electronics. Funny enough it moves into one of the most beautiful tracks “Gun”, the first tune to be joined by the ethereal voice of Hundred Waters’ Nicole Miglis. This is the more restrained tune of Seraph, Arsenault’s voice still striking but goosebump inducing.

 “Service” gives you a break from any vocals with a dance tune before moving to the mellow “Garden” and “Arrows”. “I Have Some” sees Miglis return again with an indie-pop like chorus but a verse that takes it’s time. It’s like the two characters at the centre of “Suffer” have reconciled and “Running” sounds like someone drowned in love. The album strangely finishes off with simply Arsenault and an acoustic guitar where he sings about his mistakes and lost loves. “The hardest part of a broken heart is helping it heal slow.”

Seraph is the portrait of someone who has unstable relationships and is making his way through them by writing songs about every step of the way.