I remember when Shura first released “Touch” two to three years back. After hearing the song’s somber yet funky melodies, I excitedly scoured the internet for more of her work. Well, seeing that Nothing’s Real is her recently released debut, I did not find more Shura songs when my curiosity was piqued years ago. Still, I kept her on my radar, awaiting the day where she would come out from hiding and release new material. When Nothing’s Real was announced and released, I listened to the album the first chance I could and my first impression was of surprise, but in a not entirely pleasant fashion. My expectations steered me in a direction Shura obviously was not planning on arriving to.
I envisioned an album full of “Touch” clones; Twangy bass lines being highlighted by long, smooth, filtered synths all layered over a good drum beat with excellent soulful vocals in the spotlight. While the superb vocals are ever-present, the album has a more poppy vibe than I anticipated. All-in-all, Nothing’s Real is much more of an 80’s inspired electropop album than an electronic soul album. Songs like “What’s it Gunna Be?” and “What Happened To Us?” rely heavily on addictive choruses with easy to remember lyrics about tense romantic situations. Though the formula is easy to identify, the instrumentation is good and Shura’s vocals are so on-point that they carry most of the album.
She emphasizes each beat in a way that makes every sound in the mix pop. Her voice is so smooth and easy to listen to. I know I must sound like I have a huge crush on her, but I believe that this album would be nothing without the voice of Shura on the foreground. “2Shy” and “Touch” both do an excellent job at showcasing the vocals. These two songs are also fantastically dynamic. In fact, the overall mixing of the album is above industry standard. Besides the more exciting parts, which is forgivable from an engineering standpoint, each individual element of a song can be easily dissected by the ears and each track maintains appropriate volume levels.
Nothing’s Real strikes a nice balance between the new and old pop formulae. While the album sounds like it was made in 2016, it feels like an 80’s pop album. Shura has certainly set herself up for a promising career with the release of this album. Providing she adapts to push herself further away from the sound’s similar artists, I think she could continue her success.
Recommended If You Like: a-ha, Chvrches, Mystery Skulls
Recommended Tracks: 4 (Touch), 3 (What’s It Gonna Be?), 2 (Nothing’s Real), 11 (2Shy), 7 (What Happened to Us?), 8 (Kidz ‘N’ Stuff), 9 (Tongue Tied), 10 (Make It Up)
Do Not Play: None
Written by Shane Blair on 10/17/2016