Seth Nyquist has always known exactly what he wanted to hear. From a young age he would sit in front of the stereo in his mother’s house in Toronto, fast forward to a particular section in a recording, and immerse himself in those precious seconds. As the recording artist MorMor, Seth works in not so dissimilar a fashion: He has an idea for a sound, and he works intensely until he’s created it. The first song he released, a tangy synth pop anthem called “Heaven’s Only Wishful,” arrived in early 2018 like a breeze through a newly opened window: welcome and refreshing. Critics loved it—Pitchfork heralded him as “pop’s new auteur”—and in a matter of months the single had accumulated millions of plays.
Following two acclaimed EPs—Heaven’s Only Wishful in 2018 and Some Place Else in 2019— his debut album Semblance is by turns contemplative, jittery, wistful, gentle, and generous. His distinctive voice—a svelte tenor that sits comfortably higher in pitch—leaps out of the speakers, alighting over the sturdy bass lines, guitar riffs, and drums he played himself. The album pursues difficult truths about love and growth and relationships, uncovering feelings that Seth couldn’t have revealed in any other way. And yet the album lingers on the outskirts of comprehension; it’s not like reading a diary, but is more like stumbling on codes and fragments to wonder over. Semblance offers a beguiling feeling the listener chases but never quite pins down. A record to put on again and again, reliving the moments.
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