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Shura - Nothing's Real (Album Review)

Tuesday, 26 July 2016 Written by Huw Baines

Shura knows the power of escapism. She’s spent time travelling and is happy to lose herself in countless hours before a console. Now, she has delivered a debut album that performs the same trick through the medium of glistening synth pop.

‘Nothing’s Real’ shies away from nothing, but refuses to be overwhelmed. From the title track, which recounts a terrifying panic attack across a faultless, Kylie-indebted four minutes, to the anxiety of the to and fro at the centre of Touch, Shura starts with her feet firmly in the real world before defiantly whisking the listener somewhere else.

Throughout, the album’s blend of spotless electro-pop and sprawling, heavy-lidded slow jams - see the nine minute closer, The Space Tapes - is kept in check by Shura’s commitment to a personal, observational lyrical style.

She is anxious at many points, shifting from the title track’s visit to a doctor, following the runaway online success of Touch, to 2Shy’s documenting of self-conscious movements: “I turned up with my cap on back to front. Trying to be someone I saw on TV once.” Kidz ‘N’ Stuff, meanwhile, has a view of ‘adult’ relationships that slowly unravels. “Wish I knew right from the start we’d never ever work this out,” Shura admits.

By placing these discussions front and centre, she turns panic-stricken asides into an embrace. As she recently told the BBC of her approach to pop: “You have so many songs that are like, 'I'm so into you' or 'Let's get it on'. I don't recognise that swagger, I'm never going to feel like that." She’s not alone.

Even taking into account songwriting embellishments from Joel Pott, Greg Kurstin and former Madonna co-writer MoZella, Shura’s own voice and tales of growing up are the record’s beating heart. She is matter of fact about her sexuality, unapologetic about her nostalgic streak and happy at times to wallow in a sense of doomed romance. ‘Nothing’s Real’ is a wonderful mix of thematic depths and melodies that fizz and pop.

Shura Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed December 07 2016 - LONDON O2 Forum

Click here to compare & buy Shura Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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