Fresh, Edgy and Honest Songs Of Love and Loneliness with an Electro-Heartbeat.
Drenched in 1980s synths and electronics, Shura’s debut album Nothing’s Real is released on 8th July 2016 and I would say it is this years album of the year. Bold statement? I think not.
Shura brings us an album that has seen her likened to the early days of Madonna and Janet Jackson; but strip that away and take away the gloss of their ‘Hollywood lyrics’ and Shura is rightly standing on her own two feet. In recent years there has been a lot of musical styles with the tag of ‘electronic’ at the front – electro-indie, electro-pop, electro-folk – but Shura makes this tag her own. It’s fresh and on the edge more than her contemporaries as she mixes in sound bites from her childhood and sings of panic attacks to love lost and taking a chance on love
Although the title of the album (and lead song) is called Nothing’s Real there is definitely a realness in which Shura delivers her music and lyrics, like the with the fragility of ‘how can I not be everything that you need?’ in Kids N’ Stuff to, ‘ I’m no child but I don’t feel grown up,’ in ‘What Happened To Us?’ The beats and the electronics help us not to get too deep in our emotions and more so a release of them. We have the more poppy sounds in ‘ What’s It Gonna Be?’ and 90s soulful vibes in ‘Tongue Tied’ and ‘Make It Up.’ Shura really brings it all and although I have mentioned ‘old skool’ vibes this debut is fresh sounding for the current day. In fact a timeless debut has been presented to us.
Nothing’s Real proves that Shura is an artist in her own right. The roots of the album were born in her two bedroom flat n Shepherds Bush and the marketing around it is one of the best I have ever seen, with the site http://www.hasshurafinishedheralbumyet.com She also has the video that went viral for Touch and songs about aliens with lyrics that would not be out of place of everyday living. Shura is an artist so fresh and without boundaries and she’s “different, I like it,” to borrow the words from the song White Light. Just when you thought Nothing’s Real, reality has struck us and all my musical senses come alive with every beat and chord in every second I hear on this 50-minute album. So, yes, this is 2016’s album of the year.
Courtesy Victoria Ling
Released July 8th 2016
ROCKS (Red Rocks)
The Best of The Best of American Indie Pop.
In fairness it was Son #1 who was a Barenaked Ladies fan when he lived under our roof (the band NOT actual Bare Naked Ladies, but I suppose……) not me; although he played their Pirate Ship and Stunt album loud and on heavy rotation; so I became a fan by default.
Still touring with the same nucleus as when they first formed in 1988 and still recording left of centre ‘interesting’ Pop Music in the way only American bands can (I’m thinking Steely Dan and Cheap Trick among a myriad of others) this album is something of a warts n all Greatest Hits with the inclusion of a couple of newer songs thrown in for good measure.
You hear the crowd go crazy as they welcome the band to the stage and turn a few knobs and whistles before going into a smooth as silk Get Back Up and the show is firmly ‘on the road.’
As expected the musicianship from Robertson, Hearn, Creegan and Stewart is extraordinarily good and the whip-smart lyrics are even better than I’d remembered.
While not aux fait with every song here; I absolutely loved the tongue in cheek Brian Wilson; which made me think I should have added the Beach Boys to that original list of Great American Pop Bands; as they are with hindsight an obvious influence.
While there aren’t any long stories between songs; there is just enough ‘banter’ to keep your interest and even make you smile, especially between Falling For the First Time and the rather excellent Passcode.
There are even a couple of songs here that have really piqued my interest and if I can find the time, because of the beautiful piano on Light Up My Room will re-investigate it and also Falling For The First Time.
But what the Barenaked Ladies (appear to) do best are those quirky fun; yet still intelligent songs like the sing-along Gonna Walk, Duct Tape Heart (trust me it’s a cracker!) and of course their signature tune….If I Had £1,000,000 which has the crowd matching them with harmonies.
That said; my favourite song here really does sum them up and probably earned them more money than everything else and its the theme tune to Big Bang Theory which I seemed to know every single word.
But just when you think you can’t love them any more they close the show with……. Led Zeppelin’s…..Rock & Roll!!!!
Released May 20th 2016