Serras - Stand Clear of the Closing Doors Please
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Stand Clear of the Closing Doors Please
Go Danish Folk Music (

cd cover This Danish group's latest opens with a mournful violin, shortly joined by a lone flute, evoking the slower-paced, quieter days of centuries past. Then as the melody comes around again, a trap drumset kicks in, soon followed by a fuzz-toned guitar and it's as if we effortlessly slipped forward two hundred years. Serras has made its name by creating what is essentially prog-rock, but using 18th century Danish folk tunes as its source material. On their latest, they stretch the formula by writing their own instrumental tunes. Though the group goes for rock's electricity, the musicians don't flail away to get to an amped up ecstatic state, but channel that energy and passion in measured, precise ways.

The group pumps up the intensity of folk tunes, but they successfully keep the music's soulful essence. The album's first half open with several rockers and "Kirken den er et gammelt hus (The church is an old house)" has a jazzy sax threading its way amid the interlocking melodies. Though the group is a follk-rock hybrid, its music would be closer to the hearts of King Crimson fans more than what is defined as folk-rock in the U.S., such as Jackson Browne.

The album's latter half gets moodier and more intense, more about jaw-clenching than butt-shaking. On "Caron," the group builds to a crescendo using a electric guitar that sounds like U2's "The Edge."

Despite the grungy tone of Serras's guitars, the group is not about distorting folk tunes. The group does do a bit of Dr. Frankenstein surgery, putting a beefier backbone into the otherwise soft and wooly folk music, but if 18th century Danish villages had Marshall amps and bongs, this very well might have been the sounds that got the young Danes through the dark winter. - Marty Lipp

CD available from cdRoots

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