Boomkat Product Review:
serpentwithfeet embraces Black gay nightlife on his third album, writing itchy, neon-hued club music that's interwoven with his expectedly celestial R&B weepies. Featuring collabs with Ty Dolla $ign, Mick Jenkins, Yanga YaYa and Orion Sun.
serpentwithfeet's got a winning track record. Since his early Tri Angle material, he's released two stunningly good albums, peaking with 2021's heartfelt, gospel-inspired 'Deacon'. And since then he's worked with Björk, Daniel Caesar, Nosaj Thing, NAO and Lil Silva, as well as penning material for various TV shows and movies. On 'GRIP' it sounds as if he's been blessed with fresh energy; it's inspired by his experience in Black, gay nightlife spaces, which he says "raised him a second time." So he attempts to trace the contradiction of the dancefloor, a private, intimate safe space that's public facing - a place to be watched and to watch others.
From the beginning it's clear serpentwithfeet has movement in mind as he fashions a ballroom-ratchet hybrid pulse on the Ty Dolla $ign and Yanga YaYa collaboration 'Damn Gloves'. But by the time we reach 'Safe Word' we're back on familiar ground, with lightly plucked guitar and a gossamer beat backing up serpentwithfeet's soaring, convivial vocals. His songwriting has tightened since 'Deacon', and there's a sense that pristine R&B jams like 'Spades' or the lilting, romantic 'Deep End' could pierce the underground. On 'Black Air Force', he reminds us of underrated LA rapper-singer-producer TeeFLii, and the shivering 'Ellipsis', featuring Philly's Orion Sun, is one of the most gooey tracks he's ever penned.