Over the last few years Shygirl has cultivated an eccentric sound pulling from a wide range of influences to create raucous, futuristic club bangers.
Part R&B, part rap, part pop-ready dance, it’s hard to describe quite how Shygirl’s music takes all these elements and fuses them through the prism of the club’s sweaty euphoria, to create her brand of dark, forward thinking frenzy.
This is no different on her new Alias EP where industrial, UK rap and rave sonics are blended through production from Sega Bodega, SOPHIE and Kai Whiston (among others) resulting in a genre-bending listen.
The first track ‘Twelve’ provides a suitable introduction, with skittering hi-hats bouncing off rumbling 808’s to create the kind of dark yet hectic backdrop which we’ve come to expect from Shygirl. ‘Slime’ follows in a similar vein with a laid-back bounce of eerie reverbed vocals giving the feel of a 00’s club rap track, but with her typically distorted edge.
The lead single off the project ‘Freak’ is the first significant change of pace. Starting off with a warped halftime intro, a four to the floor kick and thumping bassline then transform this song into a boisterous yet raunchy anthem.
Another similarly club-oriented track is ‘Tasty’ which follows. Shygirl delivers a seductive melody over weighty piano chords and breaks, which proves to be a bold interpretation of a more classic rave sound with great results. Perhaps one of the catchiest tunes of the bunch, it also exemplifies how Shygirl’s pop sensibilities are heightened on this release.
‘Leng’ brings back the speaker-knocking 808s and a frantic synth line as well as the most direct raps of the project. From here, the closing two tracks once again display the refinement of her sound. A much slower shuffling beat characterises ‘Bawdy’, a flamboyant head-bopper with some irresistible synth chords and Shygirl’s laid-back vocals giving it somewhat of an old school R&B vibe.
‘Siren’ finishes Alias as the most ambitious track in terms of structural progression. Distinctly dancefloor ready, it is also the most subdued track on this EP although this is by no means a bad thing. Wonky synth lines, a driving bass and chopped vocals towards the end interchange effortlessly, creating an evocative and euphoric finale.
Alias is a thoroughly enjoyable listen and despite its diversity in influences and ideas, comes off as Shygirl’s most cohesive and polished release to date. Hard-hitting drum sounds, infectious vocals and slick melodic lines come together with diverse and well thought out musical reference points to produce the kind of music that sounds like it would be played at some sweaty basement club in 2030.
We might not be able to enjoy that kind of entertainment at the moment, but this EP could help recreate that sensation of elated intoxication.