Sunday, August 18, 2019

Review: Forevher • Shura

If Shura's sophomore record could speak, there's no question that it would steal its catchphrase from a Jennifer Lawrence meme: "Gay rights!"

Reflecting the dynamics of a long-distance relationship over warm, minimalist synths and the occasional smooth brass, Forevher juggles the happiness tied to the discovery of a compatible girlfriend and the strange state of loneliness that lingers when said girl lives much farther than a stone’s throw away. While “The Stage” swells with psychedelic excitement for a first date (at a MUNA concert, no less) and “Religion (U Can Lay Your Hands On Me)” is a certified sexy jam, the record’s midsection explores empathy and feelings beyond her initial giddiness. “Tommy” and “Princess Leia” weep over death: The former is the touching answer to Cher’s questioning of life after love, told through the perspective of a Southern widower she met in Texas. The Carrie Fisher tribute, however, is a bit more grim: “Maybe I died when Carrie Fisher died. Death is served just like it was a soda: Didn’t even want it, but it’s complimentary.”

Existential crisis doesn’t linger over Forevher like it does across Nothing’s Real, as happiness and awe regain Shura’s attention at the record’s close. The title track launches itself into an excited ode to love, and the phenomenal five-minute finale “Skyline, Be Mine” is the ambient culmination of guitars, synth runs, and soft vocals that the record deserves. It and “BKLYNLDN,” on which she slides around a smooth soundscape before the track cracks open at its midpoint to reveal a blossoming love, do not view her distance from her girlfriend as a terrible thing: The tracks reflect the subtle beauties of the world from an airplane window. And given Shura's vaguely optimistic change in perspective, love and sensuality seem to have dulled some urgent anxieties that plagued her past – leading to an evolution that has pointed her toward a damn fine queer love record built upon synthpop and slow-jam rhythm and blues.

Forevher is now available under Secretly Canadian.

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