This article originally appeared in The Skinny
Shamir’s 2015 album Ratchet delved into pop, disco and electro in ways that felt like it was born for the dancefloor. Yet there were contemplative moments too, not least on tracks that turned the lights down low like Demon and Darker. It’s along that more open and vulnerable path that he has treaded further for his new record, Revelations.
After surprise-releasing Hope earlier in the year – which initially heralded a distinct shift towards guitar-led music – Shamir continues to be inspired by punk and country roots, moving far away of the glossiness of his debut. It’s quite often stripped back to the bare essentials and Shamir’s vocals, a combination that can be quite muddy on tracks such as the fuzz-ridden Her Story. Luckily, Shamir injects enough variation – from the childlike melodies of Games to the relative crispness of Astral Plane – to prevent each track from feeling overly similar.
The minimalistic approach means Shamir’s words can become the central focus and, as the album title might suggest, he has a lot on his mind. Whether it’s the statement that “we’re out here struggling” on the snapping 90s Kids or powerful closer Straight Boy’s searing examination of identity and appropriation, he’s often thoughtful and insightful in equal measure. While it may be far slimmer than Ratchet musically, Revelations fills that gap with earnest, heartfelt emotion.