Rustic and warm, Austin based folk/soul band Those Poor Serfs, unloaded a clear and authentically produced EP onto the acoustic community–City View. The EP is a sound example of “good things come in small packages,” as the record is a production of only four songs. This marketing scheme is an incredible way for the band, composed of Derek Kinsaul ( lead vocals, guitar), Coby Michalek (vocals, guitar), Ben Stark (bass), Temp Keller (drums) and BJ Lazarus (mandolin), to get their foot in the doorway of potential listeners. Often times, music lovers are concrete in their preferred genre’s and refuse to allot time for underground music. By releasing a short and transparent EP, Those Poor Serfs are giving small-minded listeners an opportunity to quickly expand their musical schema in a mere 15 minutes and 28 seconds. City View is tale of lust, heartbreak and all that is “complicated” about affectionate relationships, certainly an EP worth delving into.
Track one: all night
“All Night” is the introductory melody to City View that is nothing shy of sexy. The mesmerizing instrumentals dance on a thin line of psychedelia, despite Those Poor Serf’s self-described sound of “southern rock”. The track transitions smoothly from a commencement of garage-band acoustics into a strong, coherent, masculine string of provocative lyrics. The band paints a bold mental picture for their listeners as they describe a woman being desirably pushed against a wall by a prospective lover, while she tirelessly, alluringly repeats his name. The man sings shamelessly about the woman theoretically crawling around in his brain all day and how, finally, they both are ready to be together all night. The track is a charming outfit with a dark, risqué undertone.
track two: steel bell
Track two, “Steel Bell,” is quite the antithesis of the previous track. “Steel Bell” is the classic, ambiguous, heartbreak jam that somehow always proves necessary upon dealing with the ever-so-troubling “complication” of intimate relationships. The melody in Kinsaul’s voice could pose as an instrument standing alone, as his vocals delve deep and whip kindly back upwards, similar to a wave. The listener can picture a man, vulnerable and desperate, with a bad taste in his mouth aching for a seemingly long-gone partner. “Receive this love from me and put in the dirt,” he passive aggressively tells the disinterested lover. The girl is close, but too emotionally far to touch. This particular situation appropriately leads the listener into the rest of the story-like album.
track three: in the winter
By the third track, “In The Winter“, we are taken to a cold, lonely space. It’s winter time, the man singing, the person one can consider the album alludes to, is now facing his wits end. A once erotic, mindful man is now alone while his blood runs frigid from a lack of companionship. “In The Winter” is the slowest, darkest track of the City View. The lyricist cries on about winter’s angst bringing a frostbitten tire to his continuous loneliness. From track one to track three we experience, through southern charm, a mental breakdown stemmed from isolation.
track four: Wakes you
The fourth and final track, “Wakes You“, brings refuge to the heartbroken man. “Wakes you” is a brief story of a kind, unorthodox woman who has been deteriorated by life’s consistent rules and beatings. Despite the aforementioned man’s inability to understand the strange, sad girl’s decisions he invites her to stay with him–seemingly forever. The man sees the woman wake in the night from terrors that depict her reality, but this actually brings him strength. Our main character, the heartbroken man, has found safety and strength through aiding the pain of another human–he is no longer alone. The melody is the most uplifting, the most inspiring and most definitely a prime cut to be listened to on a porch rocking chair with sweet tea.
City View was a pleasant surprise, the coherence of the story was impressive, allowing me to deeply take in each important theme from the four tracks. The album’s story comes full circle once the protagonists finds warmth after winter, and company to aid his abandonment. With a mantra of heartache, the album is relatable, introspective and completed with fine musical taste.