The New Album - 'To The Teeth' - out now! £8
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Already a battle-scarred industry veteran before hitting his twenties, Serafin singer Ben Fox-Smith knows a thing or two about surviving in the cut-throat world of the music business. Dusting himself off from the rubble of prematurely-curtailed teen-rockers Stony Sleep, Smith hooked up with Darryn Harkness (guitar), Mitts (bass) and Ronny Growler (drums) to flesh out a new musical project, a band whose razor-sharp intensity and invigorating marriage of violence and melodics would see them turn heads at a startling rate. Hailed by many as an underrated classic, Serafin’s debut album No Push Collide bristled with raw energy, drawing comparison with the likes of the Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins and Placebo in its furious melding of distorted psychosis with full-on dynamic attack.


Sadly, rock music this intelligent or imaginative rarely connects with a mass audience hell-bent on devouring the latest Nickelback release, and in 2004 the acquisition of Taste Media by the Warner Music Group saw the band sucked into a contractual vortex from which they struggled to emerge. Never ones to let the bastards grind them down, the band used the retreat to their advantage, concentrating on various side-projects and refining their line-up before re-grouping to record No Push Collide’s long-awaited successor. Of the new material, Smith notes that the album represents “an effort to revert a little to the beginning of my career - to reign in my original love for my bandmates, music and fans”. Indeed, after four years of complex pressures the band has wrestled creative control from its industry captors to deliver their most ambitious work to date.


When Smith says that the record isn’t what people might expect, he isn’t kidding. To the Teeth is an album of seething contradiction, a nightmarish dreamscape which twists and writhes in an atmosphere of underlying menace. While the likes of Arms offer a haunting insight into the troubles that have plagued them in recent times, tracks like News offer a straight-ahead reminder of why we fell in love with them in the first place. With Smith’s brother Christian taking over drumming duties, it’s an album that acts as both escape and release: the sound of a band suddenly uncoiling after years of pent-up frustration. Like the celestial being from whom their name is derived, Serafin have emerged from the wreckage to rise again.



C.C. 25/02/08