Even if some people may mistake him to be a Satanist, due to the big piercing in the middle of his face and the pentagram tattooed on his forehead, serpentwithfeet is walking on the way of the cross. The artist, like a lot of LGTBQI people, had to deal with the struggles of gender, body, and other proper queer issues, such as depression, suicidal tendencies, and sadness… All these pains are caused by the difficulty of knowing who you are, who you love, and accepting it in a tough world that labels everything and rejects everything that doesn’t fit in a box. On his path to self-acceptance, Wise raised his arms to you (or You) as he sings it, and “blisters EP” is the result of his evolution.
On “blisters EP”, serpentwithfeet discloses an indiscernible intermeshing of Christian references and personal storytelling and delivers a melodramatic modern queer opera.
Indeed, the artist was able to go through these hard times and is now embracing the “penance” and the “redemption”. Besides being two tracks on the album, these concepts are also sacraments of healing and reparation in the Catholic Church. Writing “SUICIDE” and “HEAVEN” on his forehead is neither a provocation nor a sacrilege: it’s the proof that he succeeded in exorcising the evils, name them, and made a step towards a better state. The EP, which is actually the result of this collapse and the road he has gone through since then, discloses itself in an intermeshing of Christian references and personal storytelling that is actually hard to distinguish. On the amazing “flickering”, the artist is at the same time talking about a love story and the relation that one can have with God, offering two different visions of the same song.
Like a prophecy taken from a Judeo-Christian sacred text, Wise builds binary oppositions between the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the life and the death. In “blisters”, he sings “From his lips, that are the only source of water, and thus of life, to the leaves getting black”: a worrying incantation that demonstrates that love and life can sometimes easily turn into troubling pain for someone who is looking for his own identity. What is the good? What is the bad? The artist doesn’t answer but subtly calibrates this classical dichotomy by showing that in the real life and in love, things are not black and white. More importantly, he knows now who he is and he claims it in the probably self-directed “four ethers”: “you have to show me yourself”!
Mainly produced by British producer The Haxan Cloak, who notably worked on Björk’s last album “Vulnicura”, the electronic framework of the EP sounds both futuristic and ancestral. It is difficult to put a date on these arrangements. Serpentwithfeet is an oracle who preaches his prophecy over moving and intense string sections, dramatic drum rolls, and avant-garde noises. As Wise explained it to Pitchfork, he grew up in church and studied classical vocal techniques. Even if his curiosity brought him to the doors of Death Grips’ universe, he just can’t stop singing gospel. As a result, the artist is proposing the hybrid soundscape of a soul and gospel diva who would have been beamed into the modern world, like if Nina Simone had the possibility to work with Arca. A melodramatic modern queer opera that you will either hate or love. For our part, we fell to our knees before this impressive debut project.