Singer-songwriter and producer supreme Shura has been attracting critical adoration since releasing a smattering of singles in 2014, neatly packaged and remixed by the likes of Jungle and Warpaint in the White Noise EP which dropped last July.
Touch was omitted from that collection, receiving its own makeover this year, with Talib Kweli adding some rather underwhelming verses.
Shura herself featured in Mura Masa’s acclaimed Love For That, and her debut album pays homage to this incredibly diverse A-List of collaborators whilst retaining her own eccentric methodology.
New material is slightly thin on the ground, although this can be attributed to Shura’s “quality over quantity” policy, wisely choosing to mix in a select few alongside her outstanding previous work.
Nothing’s Real’s Chemical Brothers-esque opening ushers in a euphoric, bouncing number that radiates charm. With a captivating chorus, Nothing’s Real is a smart choice for 2nd song, and welcomingly contrasts with Shura’s typical wistfulness.
Kids ‘N’ Stuff exemplifies this style. A gentle daydream of a song, it floats and lulls, serene with strong undercurrents of longing. The gradually intensifying outro smoothly transitions into Touch, the opening line – “Drinking whisky from a plastic cup” – repeatable as ever, two years on.
What Happened To Us? Reflects on a past relationship, and the perils of artificially assessing; recalling the good and dismissing the bad.
“I’m no child but I don’t feel grown up” she admits, unafraid to critique her own flaws.
Growing up is a theme explored with rich nostalgia throughout the album, with fragments of her childhood embedded between songs; chatting with her twin brother; being reprimanded by her mother; the past still resonating in the present.
Nothing’s Real is a stunning debut, with the arguably overabundant past material simply reinforcing Shura’s distinct talents. When read as a cumulative exhibition, the scale and scope is staggering. Introspective and sentimental, this is an album to be savoured.
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