The biggest song from Seryn’s 2011’s breakthrough album was a jaunty, jangly tune called “We Will All Be Changed.” In it, all six members of the folk-pop band sang the chorus as loud as they could, elevating and uniting themselves to choir-like levels. Since This Is Where We Are came out four years ago, though, that theme that all will change has resonated particularly truly and ironically. Now, Seryn has two new band members and different management, and the sextet released its second record Shadow Shows independently. Plus, the band recently relocated from their hometown of Denton, Texas to restart their musical careers in Nashville. With all of these different personalities, locales and processes, it seems like only change remains the constant on Shadow Shows.
With members performing on guitar, ukulele, bass, banjo, violin and all sorts of percussion, Seryn take a more atmospheric approach with Shadow Shows. Instruments become less articulated as individual, contributory sounds and more like conceptual pastiches that evoke certain natural places and emotional states. The opening instrumentals of “Kilimanjaro” and the 90-second introduction to “Foreign Fields” rushes with uplifting gusts and cast ominous shadows, respectively. Birdcall-like sounds chip and warble throughout “The Wind and the Storm.” And in lead single “The Fire,” rhythm builds momentum in stark contradiction to the strings wavering and lingering; the band likened it to the tension and driving movements of change pitted against the insecurities felt as those changes transpire. Distilling Shadow Shows to its simplest folk pop form doesn’t represent the album fully. Rather, Seryn returns with a conceptual record that requires more than a cursory listen to appreciate its sonic nuances and musical juxtapositions.