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Shura - Forevher (Album Review)

Thursday, 22 August 2019 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Hollie Fernando

Shura’s new album is very decent indeed: a washy reverie of auto-tuned dream-pop mixed down with neo-soul arrangements that alternately recall Nao and Yo La Tengo. It introduces us to a singer who has fallen head-over heels in love since her impressive 2016 debut, ‘Nothing’s Real’.

The biggest sonic influence here, though, might actually be Janet Jackson. Semi-title track Forever is a gorgeous, controlled slow jam that opens with the sound of gentle waves. From there it drops into a shimmering synth riff and rootsy vocal melody that flow over the listener with joyous, tender affection.

Control hits many of the same marks. It’s got a clucking snare that gives the track a pleasing, snappy sound amid old school synthesizers that are doubled and delay-repeated into a soothing melange of surprising precision. 

This is an album devoid of bitterness. Instead, Shura focuses on the innate joy of good romance—the exploration of another person that should define every relationship at its outset: “I got my friend to teach me French / So I could speak true to you / Goodnight, sweet dreams, bonne nuit / Funny that I tried.”

The ‘90s vibes are retained on tracks like Side Effects and Skyline, Be Mine, which actually dance close to the downtempo trip-hop of Morcheeba. In this way, ‘Forehver’ acts as a bit of a curated tour of a particular sound—similar exercises were completed with precision by Destroyer on ‘Ken’ (early Mancunian indie) and Jamie xx on ‘In Colour’ (British and American EDM). It’s a really satisfying way to appreciate a record, and knowingly or not, Shura excels at it.

If there are fundamental criticisms, the album is too front-loaded, and—more importantly—the overall sound is so highly synthetic that one can ignore it quite easily. That said, that easy listening flava is sort of the point of neo-soul, so it’s fair to say that the record works very well on its own terms. The integrity of Shura’s songwriting and point of view give 'Forevher' a distinctiveness and intellectual rigour that make it a tremendously appealing listen.

Shura Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu November 14 2019 - LONDON Roundhouse
Sat November 16 2019 - DUBLIN Academy
Sun November 17 2019 - GLASGOW Oran Mor
Mon November 18 2019 - MANCHESTER O2 Ritz

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

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