Review Summary: Serotonin or Lack Thereof
Serotonin; a chemical compound associated with feelings of happiness and well-being. A fitting link for this album since it injects serotonin to its listener while somehow lacking the said substance in itself. The music is filled with soft synths in a dreamy ambient soundscape, comforting sounds that recur throughout the album. And yet, the theme lacks any traces of well-being in some of its tracks at times. The paradox is slowly realized as the album’s tone shifts from romantic to darker ones halfway through. Serotonin II
is a showcase of the turmoil of its artist turned into a simulation within a musical form.
Yeule, a UK-based Singaporean artist, presents her music through low-key vocal deliveries. It’s an act of balancing not sounding monotonous with achieving a minimalist approach all while providing a close relationship to the music composition. With this, she incorporates a delicate intimacy within her sound. The production on this album serves only to elevate the impact of her vocal delivery. It’s a fusion of soft ambient synths over a dreamy soundscape with a sprinkle of electronic vocal alteration. Perhaps this record is lacking in intensity, or any flashiness of some sort. It is, however, focused on the intention to charm its listeners, indulging them in a blissful atmosphere.
Up until the end of “Pixel Affection,'' a track that yearns for romantic desire, the mood gradually shifts to a darker side. The exposition of Yeule’s desolation in “Pocky Boy” is sudden, but not unwelcome. It tells the tragedy of a girl being left to her death by loneliness. If Serotonin II
is telling a tale, there is a distortion within its timeline since “Blue Butterfly” seems to be the prologue of the latter track, despite being placed later within the album. A few remaining tracks appear to be interconnected as well. “Pretty Bones”, “Reverie”, and the finale are centered around the feeling of disappointment which suggests continuity, but not linear in any way. As the album progresses, pieces of a story are slowly built, unveiling the cause of Yeule's turmoil as hinted on “Blue Butterfly”.
when the day comes for me, to awake
However, the closing “Veil of Darkness” is an unexpected turn of events. It's the sound of an error in the system. The pieces of a story that had been painstakingly built are torn apart by a wall of noise, an antithesis to the rest of the album. The simulation glitched to a halt. Then it ends with an ethereal last rite and fades away into nothingness.
is a record that engages you through its mellow design and holds your attention by its subtle complexity. The lyrics are written to instill a mystery for you to solve, yet left open-ended, to be revisited. It’s addictive, both in theme or in composition, an album that is far from overstaying its welcome. And instead, it pulls you back in for more of its comfiness or for you to rearrange pieces of the puzzle once more.