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Shygirl - ‘ALIAS’ review

The London-based artist’s new EP is a breakneck haul through the imagined grime of clubs that now seem so far away, an absolute must-listen.

By Flora Pick, Deputy Music Editor

The London-based artist’s new EP is a breakneck haul through the imagined grime of clubs that now seem so far away; an absolute must-listen.

London’s Shygirl has had a major year. Following a track-gilding feature on Arca’s KiCk i she has been busy dropping singles that raise generalised yearning for the club to a level of physical pain.

On ‘FREAK’ it is made clear that you are either all in, or you’re missing out. Unapologetically racy, between hypnotic choruses and churning bass that builds to a giddy spell, Shygirl pulls no punches as she makes it clear what she’s here for: ‘Got the neighbours on the phone telling me to cut it out / But I won't, and you like that.’

And like it we do. The uncomfortable intensity of the album cover (body horror, prettily sheened) is telling of the ride you’re in for. The project’s brisk 19 minutes leave no space for error, or plainness. Often the production feels as though your head is underwater, or your eardrums are blown out from standing too close to the speakers.

With SOPHIE and Sega Bodega, among others, at the helm, it’s no wonder that the unerringly squalid beats continue to surprise track after track. By the time you reach closing track, ‘SIREN’, you wonder if the vague Eurodance vibe is there or if it's simple auditory hallucination, in the best way possible.

The title is apt, as there is the distinct impression of a crunching collision between multiple identities, too many ideas running into onto another, that somehow manages to play off as a beautifully choreographed dance.

It is a testament to Shygirl’s sheer force of personality that so many artistic identities are imprinted on this raucously succinct ride, and yet she rises so clearly above them, never lost in the dirge of busy club bangers. ‘Star quality’ feels trite, but here may be the only appropriate term.

With the music as solid as it is, there’s a question of whether Shygirl requires the conceit of alter-ego that frames the album; it’s a trick the majority of listeners are going to skim past and is certainly not needed to guild tracks that are already excellent on their own merit.

When the worst thing to say about a release is that it’s too well-made for its own good, things are looking positive. Shygirl is truly one to watch – this may well be the best thing to have come out of this year.

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Featured Image: Courtesy of Sonic PR

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