On Deacon, serpentwithfeet sheds the flutters of past lovers and emerges grounded and content. Since his 2018 debut soil, the artist has relocated from New York to Los Angeles, and has undergone immense change in the process. A celebration of Black gay love, Deacon still has the rhapsodic, meticulously orchestrated qualities of serpent’s past work, but the turmoil has melted away. Bold declarations of need are traded with images of breezy summer afternoons and subtle displays of love. “He never played football but look at how he holds me,” he sings on “Hyacinth”, “he never needed silverware, but I’m his little spoon”. On “Fellowship”, the album’s stellar chamber pop closer, warm textures fold into the tender thrum of a xylophone and a gospel-infused chorus, singing, “My friends, my friends/ I’m thankful for the love I share with my friends”. The journey to self-love from heartbreak is never easy, but serpentwithfeet feels at peace.
Elsewhere, Clark’s latest offering is a nod to climate change, Hannah Peel embraces the natural world in her Delia Derbyshire-inspired album, and hyperpop artist midwxst’s EP is loaded with teen angst.