Poptastic Confessions

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Nothing's Real by Shura

Dear Poptastic Readers,

Our contributor Jason has written a review of Shura's album. As you might remember we featured the single "What's It Gonna Be" two weeks ago. 

Here is Jason's review ...


A combination of 80s influences, instant melodies, sensitive lyrics and detailed production, Shura’s Nothing’s Real is a shining example of indie-pop sensibility at its best (ironically, on a major label) and makes for a nearly flawless debut album.

Since 2014, Shura (aka Alexandra Lila Denton) has released a handful of singles — each subsequent release more impressive than the one before it. This has made her something of a darling in the pop music blogosphere and created high expectations for her eventual album. Meeting high expectations can be a killer for a burgeoning artist. Thankfully, Shura does not disappoint.

The aforementioned 80s influences are everywhere. The opening title track sounds like early-Madonna with its rubbery disco groove. Interestingly, this is juxtaposed with lyrics about a real-life ER visit that was due to an anxiety attack. “I see my heartbeat inside a television screen/my body’s not connecting”. Elsewhere, the ballad “2Shy”, recalls classic Janet Jackson in breathy “Let’s Wait Awhile” mode. Latest single, “What’s It Gonna Be” (co-written and produced by A-list producer, Greg Kurstin), sounds like it could have come from a John Hughes soundtrack. Indeed, the accompanying video plays like a charming rewrite of Some Kind of Wonderful but with an LGBT twist.

Although Shura wears her 80s inspiration on her denim jacket sleeve, it is not slavishly retro. In fact, many tracks actually end up sounding utterly up to the minute. “What Happened To Us”, with its propulsive guitars and layered harmonies sounds akin to Tegan & Sara and The Pierces’ recent similarly pop-minded outings. Likewise, one could easily imagine Haim doing “Give It Up” if only they had thought of writing it first.

Nothing’s Real manages to be one of those rare albums that avoids becoming too repetitious or “same-y” yet completely hangs together as a cohesive whole. The tempos, rhythms and moods vary from track to track but the headphone-ready, ear candy production is consistent throughout. The album is further unified both by a commitment to melody and by lyrics that continually register as sincere and earnest without ever sounding trite.

“I was never ready for your love/I’m no child but I don’t feel grown up”, Shura sings. It’s an economical yet elegant way of expressing a rather complex emotion. It’s these sort of honest, introspective observations that are Shura’s strong suit and make each of her songs universally relatable.


Nothing's Real by Shura is available on digital outlets everywhere!

Cheers then,
—Jason and Davearama

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