Shamir

Revelations

Father/Daughter

Nov 02, 2017 Issue #62 - Julien Baker Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

Earlier this year, Shamir self-released an album on SoundCloud called Hope. It was about as homemade-pop as you could get, complete with background noise and a buzzing amp. With that came the news that he had been dropped from his label, XL, and was abandoning his debut's dance-pop sound for something that came more naturally to him. The result, Revelations, is lo-fi bedroom pop and hews much closer to DIY heroes like (Sandy) Alex G or early Youth Lagoon than the clubby beats contained on 2015's bright, effervescent Ratchet.

The most interesting thing about Revelations is the way Shamir takes bold control over his narrative. It's admirable to see how far he's willing to go for his new sound, even if it means that the beloved, poppy debut may have betrayed who he really was as an artist. Each of the nine tracks on the new album is minimal and languidly paced. Some of them, like the Yo La Tengo-reminiscent "Her Story" and the '50s-style pop of "Blooming," sound like deliberate throwbacks to a simpler age. Meanwhile, distortion and a light industrial beat bring darkness to "You Have a Song," and reggae and dub rhythms hang over the dreamy melodies of "Astral Plane." These stylish hybrids are the best tracks here. There is one big misstep on Revelations, which is lead single "90's Kids." Unfortunately, the earnest lyrics about the struggle of the younger generation are awkward and should have been left locked in Shamir's diary.

Shamir's vocals are easily the best thing about every song here: his unique pitch and beautiful vibrato are suited very well to this kind of pop. But beyond that, Revelations functions mostly as a career pivot rather than a killer reinvention. It's not essential. However, it's clear Shamir has the chops and has found the courage to stay true to himself, and that is nothing but good news. (www.facebook.com/Shamir326/)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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