Shura’s light soprano glitters in a sensational set at the Roundhouse
Shura (real name Aleksandra Denton) came to prominence with the lush synth-pop of 2014 single Touch, which captured the zeitgeist with a video using a few smoke bombs over shots of different couples kissing. Now, with two albums under her belt, 2016’s Nothing’s Real and this year’s Forevher, she fills the Roundhouse with her synth sound, calling to mind Janet Jackson and early Madonna.
Shura’s light soprano is a joy, glittering over the broad soundscape created with the help of a drummer and keyboardist/guitarist. It seems the biggest musical reference of 2019 is the 1980s, and her melancholy electropop demonstrates this, transposing the sounds of that era with the fact that the sensuality and love she sings about is for other women.
For her latest single, the ecstatic religion (u can lay your hands on me) she is joined on stage by a group of dancing “nuns” in sunglasses with rainbow-lined habits. For an atheist, she seems very interested in faith. During flying, she sings “does anyone, anyone think/ a virgin had a baby, it’s crazy.” This is well-worn cultural ground and adds little insight – it’s also mysterious lyrical leap given that the song is about her overcoming her fear of flying for her girlfriend.
The tracks work better when they are more personal and each gets an introduction: “This one’s about being dumped in public” she says of Make It Up; “This one’s about being in an Air BnB in Paris with my girlfriend” she says of Side Effects. Forevher is clearly a record about falling in love, its inspiration being the long-distance relationship with her girlfriend; it’s a loved up sigh of a record and has real beauty. religion (u can lay your hands on me) is just as irresistible as Touch. For the rendition of the latter, the artist gets into the crowd and lets them have the mic, with varying results (some singing, some shrieking).
For White Light, the Roundhouse is turned into a giant snow globe, with confetti cannon blasting out white confetti. There is literally nothing that can’t be improved by the addition of a confetti cannon and with the strobe lights skittering through the deluge, it creates a sensational moment.
The supporting acts include Marika Hackman DJing and Rosie Lowe, whose soulful, unique voice is criminally under-rated. It’s a line-up of young British female talent doing their own thing, making music about loving who they want without shame.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information and future events visit Shura’s website here.
Watch the video for religion (u can lay your hands on me) here: