With a near operatic sweep and the grandeur of Florence and the Machine, Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands’ “Fall of the Seraph” is a dramatic number that proves a powerful portent to the North Carolina group’s upcoming full-length, The Absolute Elsewhere. On its Bandcamp page, the group describes itself thusly: “This is what it would sound like if Kate Bush were to genetically fuse with Danny Elfman and Dresden Dolls in some strange biological experiment.” Given Bright’s incredibly powerful vocals, the Bush comparison isn’t far off, and overall the melange of artists mentioned in that quotation is a fair representation of the stylistic diversity the band purveys in. Bright herself is an anthropologist and an ethnomusicologist, which no doubt colors the creative songwriting of her and the Silver Hands.
“Fall of the Seraph”, like the rest of the music on The Absolute Elsewhere, drew heavily from the inspiring work of a certain photographer. For more on this, stream the track below and read Bright’s explanation for its genesis.
Bright tells PopMatters about the tune, “‘Fall of the Seraph’ was written, as all of the songs were on The Absolute Elsewhere, to one of DividingMe Photography’s works. [See splash image above.] The mood and emotions of rage and despair portrayed in his piece were the catalysts for the story that took shape about a seraph that has fallen from her station of unconditional love, and how events in my life reflected this idea.
“I didn’t know anything about seraphim until I started researching them (not being a religious person) and found that they are angelic beings, regarded as belonging to the highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy, associated with light, ardor, and purity. So, my interpretation of his work was that the seraph knows she is supposed to have love and compassion for the divine (and in my case, the people in my life) no matter the circumstances, but she is too full of rage and despair that she feels like she is not ready to show love at that moment.
“Towards the end of the song, however, the mantra of Archangels Uriel and Aurora ‘Peace be still, and know that I am God’ (minus the ‘god’ part, because I don’t like to use that word in the event it turns someone off) reminds us that we are all one with each other and the divine or universe, or whatever you want to call it. And we do have the capability of loving unconditionally, but there can be a long journey to get there. So, it is the journey of having rage and despair to finding peace and unconditional love that is reflected throughout the song.”