Good things come in small packages, as the saying goes.
Serina Pech packs a hell of a musical punch into her unassuming persona. From the tiny Top End town of Katherine about 3 hours south of Darwin, this quiet chanteuse could pass under the radar as just another face in the crowd – until she starts to sing. Initially a deer in the headlights, on stage she soon gains control and commands total attention and awe as she voices her stream-of-consciousness lyrics in a halting soprano that belies her natural shyness, an arpeggio’d guitar or ukulele in her hands providing the melody. Pre-gig, she can often be seen just sitting by herself in the venue, or perhaps talking to some close friends in quiet tones, but is otherwise unremarkable.
If Nick Cave had a feminine side, it would look like Serina Pech
It is that unremarkableness that is so, well, remarkable. Once on stage, the shy Filipino-Australian girl from the bush holds court like a schoolmarm reading a story to an eager class of rapturous children. Add a full backing band into the mix and you have a completely different animal. If Nick Cave had a feminine side, it would look like Serina Pech.
Foldback Magazine has had plenty of opportunities to witness Serina’s live performances and so we speak from experience. So it is from that experience that we present to you Serina’s new EP ‘Politics‘, which is big-band-ballsy in parts, with a sweet voice telling it like it is.
There are some very radio-friendly tracks on ‘Politics‘ but that doesn’t mean this album is commercial chaff. Many listeners will find common ground with the sentiments Serina is singing about. ‘Across the Sea‘, for example, is a heartfelt cry at the end of a relationship that will likely bring a tear to your eye, especially the last lines as the song trails off at the end.
In this track it is not so much what Serina is singing, but how she sings it – Serina is a singer for whom communicating raw emotion through her timbre and phrasing comes very naturally and very honestly – the listener is left in no doubt that Serina means every word she sings, and she means it the way it sounds. She wears her heart on her sleeve with this song.
The title track ‘Politics‘ has the sound of a hit waiting for airplay. There is a lot going on in this track, both lyrically and musically, and speaks to the depth of thought and artistry this young artist has developed. As the saying goes – ‘it’s the shy ones you have to watch out for’.
‘Sing Your Own Song‘ let’s Serina’s voice take centre stage more than some of the other tracks on this EP and perhaps best epitomises Serina’s whole approach to these works – ‘But if you ever feel like you are doing things wrong, don’t worry, forget it, just sing your own song‘. Truer words have rarely been spoken. As Serina said in an Instagram post on May 8 when the EP was released: “As we deal with our personal politics on an individual level in isolation; in these times of uncertainty may we be brave enough and unafraid to ask our deepest and burning questions. Know the worth of your internal world and express it outwardly.” Yep – sing your own song indeed.
The songs are not new, they are just being put out in a new way under these changing circumstances. Consider this, everything up until this point, a major distraction to your relationship with life
In a post on the Settle Down Records (Serina’s label) Facebook page on May 8, Serina waxes further about her motivations for these tracks: “The Politics EP is a reflection of this new world we are now forcibly adapting to. New social dynamics, new government policies, new leadership, new technology, the “politics” of world change. The songs are not new, they are just being put out in a new way under these changing circumstances. Consider this, everything up until this point, a major distraction to your relationship with life. Take this EP as a little bit of encouragement to ask your own questions without fear. To be comfortable in knowing the answers forged in your own sense of worth, value and truth in times of adjustment and un-comfortability. The power of your personal politics.”
Regarding the EP cover art – Serina mentions on Instagram: “Also enjoy this painting of a cow printed onto a photo I took and edited in Adelaide for year 12 art class.” That is perhaps the simplest explanation for cover art we have every received it is just a cow on a building. Make up your own mind, sing your own song.
‘Politics’ is available now on all major streaming services and you can have a listen here: https://ffm.to/serinapechpolitics?fbclid=IwAR2T0PhU_WP3TtxaJd5b76YPu9PAI7tL46Di37_uJ-2j6yyoeSx01wJS3BA
With social distancing restrictions easing in the NT we are hopeful that we will get to hear Serina perform these soul-stirring tracks sometime soon. Watch this space.