Justin Serrao - One Year Warning (EP Review)
I have a friend who says that you can't trust someone who doesn't like country music, because they're lying: everybody loves country music… Justin Serrao's latest offering, One Year Warning, embraces multiple genres so comfortably, that it very gently leads you across to the “Western” side of things with hardly any effort. Just to be clear, this isn't a straight-up country release by any means, but the influence is undoubtedly there.
If you spent any time growing up in the 90s or early 2000s, the opening track - Are You Lonely - will likely send a pang of nostalgia up your spine. It's infused with the same kind of hopeful happiness of the folk- and roots-rock music made popular by groups like Sister Hazel, The Badlees and even Dave Matthews. The rest of the EP advances this same kind of ambience, but Serrao cleverly ramps up the level of “Country” as we move towards the end. After hooking you with the opener, there’s a subtle, gradual shift that the listener may not even realise. He has stated that he considers this 4-track EP representative of the four seasons throughout the year and that the title is a bit of a metaphorical interpretation of the lessons he’d learned during the preceding year, from falling in love, to ending the year with a broken heart. The song order definitely reflects these parallels in the evolution of a relationship and the seasonal shifts. Starting from the initial meeting of a new love interest in Are You Lonely, it progresses through the bumpy stretch most relationships hit at some point, in Hard Time Loving. The latter also injects just a touch more drama, but it's on I'm Not There that the crunchy twang of a country lead guitar really comes through. The line “we let good love die” opens this song with the realisation that we're not “in it” anymore; that the best of the relationship may be behind us. Yet, this bittersweet track about trying to fight what seems inevitable – while still wanting what was initially there – is one of the sonic highlights on the EP. Finally, as the track title suggests, someone walks away from the relationship, bringing the four seasons full circle and ending the EP on a similar, but mellowed-down vibe from where it started. Ready to start again… Because, just like seasons and solar cycles repeat year after year, and autumn and winter invariably follow summer, One Year Warning (with its striking cover art by Heinrich Pelser of Lily & Bear) is definitely an EP worth putting on repeat. Serrao's voice serves these songs perfectly and the production and sound quality (thanks to High Seas Studios) is absolutely fantastic. One Year Warning is cleverly crafted storytelling that deftly sticks to its theme. So go and listen to One Year Warning by Justin Serrao. You'll like it. You can trust me ;)
You can stream and purchase the EP on all major digital distribution platforms. You can also find out more about Justin Serrao on his website or various social media platforms: • Twitter • Instagram • Facebook