EP Review: Serena – Welcome To Wasteland

From the first few whispered words of Italian-born, London-based singer songwriter Serena’s debut EP Welcome To Wasteland, you can tell that you’ll be listening to something unconventional.

By Graeme Smith

Opening track Wild Lavender combines narrative with traditional Native American music before bass-heavy electronic elements join in, creating a moody, poetic soundscape unlike anything I’ve heard before. Set in modern America, it takes on subjects as diverse as climate change to societal conformity. It’s such a strong opener to an EP I’ve been anticipating since reviewing Serena’s single Ophelia back in April.

The single features as track two of the four-track EP. Unconventional in its own right, it has more of a alt pop feel to it than Wild Lavender. The spoken word is replaced by stained-glass sung vocals. There is an autobiographical theme sitting behind Welcome To Wasteland and Ophelia tackles Serena’s struggles with mental health and its textured, slightly-disorientating feel reflects the theme perfectly.

Track three Mind The Gap continues with the disorientation. It’s an unsettling one-minute remix of the London Underground automated announcements which bleeds directly into the EP’s final track Streetlights. The Underground imagery transforms into metaphor and there’s a strong sense of being alone in the big city. The final message, delivered through a spoken word verse, is self-love and self-acceptance.

Welcome To Wasteland is a salient glimpse into Serena’s mind and her world. It’s brave and honest and paints a detailed and emotive picture that I found really resonated. Serena is not a conventional pop artist by any stretch of the imagination (in my review of Ophelia I mentioned her Bjork influences) but what she creates is compelling and authentic so I think audiences will relate. I, for one, am a fan and can’t wait to hear more from her.

You can check out Welcome To Wasteland below.