smerz - Believer, 2021
Believer is the first full-length album of Copenhagen-based Norwegian duo Smerz. The sixteen track LP released on XL collages contemporary classical motifs alongside R&B vocals and experimental club beats, coagulating in unpredictable art-pop. Racing synths are followed by baroque-esque strings, while delicate murmurs fractiously coexist in suspense and intrigue.
What might be most striking about Believer is its form. The considered song sequence creates an interrelation between the song's aesthetics, bending genre and producing a fragmentation that exemplifies Smerz's desire not to be tied down. Amongst the intimate vocals of Max and the industrial hip-hop of Believer, sits shorter, minimalistic, gestural interludes. Versace Strings, 4 temaer and The favourite are reminiscent of Mica Levi, abstractly offsetting the more vocally dominant tracks and providing reprieve from the harder hitting bangers like Hester. Conflating the esoteric with the gritty, Smerz collapses what is expected, carving an album that is unsettling yet beguiling.