Seraph is the first official full-length album from Mas Ysa (aka Thomas Arsenault), but the Montreal-raised, U.S.-based synth-pop auteur has earned critical kudos (including from Pitchfork and NCM) for earlier tracks. We expect similar acclaim now, as his sonically adventurous spirit remains intact. A year of toiling in his home studio went into the album, with additional production help coming from Steve Rivette (Liars, Black Dice) and mixing by Grammy-nominated Damian Taylor (Björk, Arcade Fire). Arsenault digs deep lyrically here, noting in his bio that "thematically, there's a lot of Catholic guilt and shame". He also explains that his use of a pallet of choirs, clapping, castanets, and flutes "comes from going to church and coming from very large and close Ecuadorian and French-Canadian families". His dramatic vocal delivery is another asset. Seraph is far more sophisticated than most synth fare out there.
Mas Ysa played U.S. gigs in July in advance of the album, and we're hoping for Canadian shows to follow.