[$10 // http://www.xrarecords.com/catalog/golden/]
Even though "Whiten" and "Golden" are two separate cassettes and really pieces of music, they are joined together on the Crossroads of American Records website (that link up there) and as such I do feel the need to review these together. I feel as if the only way to buy them is together and as such giving each its own review may prompt someone to think they can buy one and not the other, though why someone would want one and not the other is beyond me. (To pull a line from mewithoutYou: "What good is one glove without the other?")
The music of Serhal is pleasant and melodic. There is a familiarity to it that I cannot quite place, but it has that sort of appeal to it where you know that a lot of people would like it if they had the chance to hear it, similar to the songs of Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan. It can be dreamy and there can be pianos as well, but it doesn't really hold onto any specific genre or style other than being really good.
At one point, I do hear a bit of the song "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits coming out, and of course I know that song best from the "Empire Records" soundtrack but I don't feel like Serhal is part of that soundtrack as a genre. But in keeping with the theme of Springsteen and Dylan there is somewhat of The Beatles in here as well.
Somewhere between Tom Petty and The Honorary Title the best way to describe Serhal is something like folk Americana rock but it can just change from song to song in that way that a single album can feel like a greatest hits album of sorts. It makes perfect sense now why "Whiten" and "Golden" are sold together- because if you like one, you will like the other. If you don't like this music though I'm not really sure what to tell you as there is seemingly something in here for everyone to enjoy.