Shamir – Ratchet

Although Shamir Bailey may only be 20 years of age, being born and raised in Las Vegas is likely to give you an other worldly perspective on life, love and humanity. There is no wonder Shamir has developed a sharp wit and refreshingly unique lyrical voice as he attempts to stand out from the hectic nature of the city with the bold record, ‘Ratchet’.

He presented a bubbling potential with the release of 2014 EP ‘Northtown’ partially due to his androgynous countertenor voice which has been self described as neither masculine or feminine. Whatever your opinion on this unusual vocal, it is unanimously agreed it has the power to both engross and fascinate the listener with vintage tones found on ‘Sometimes A Man’ and sizzling title track ‘Vegas’.

It is clear Shamir has overall creative control as he achieves an applaudable consistency for a debut record. The 70s disco influences shine on new single ‘Call It Off’ with radiant percussion and superb vocal breakdowns whilst the brass sampled on ‘In For The Kill’ gives the feel of an off-cut from a classic Janis Joplin album with a leaning towards a more feminine tone in vocal. It is the social commentary that really sets Shamir aside from his contemporaries, he makes cutting judgements on binge culture and nightlife during ‘Make A Scene’ whilst ‘Hot Mess’ is a sultry battle cry to those critical of his lifestyle and party habits laced with a killer bass line that seems to be a tribute to both The Chemical Brothers and Donna Summer all at once.

When you consider Shamir has written something as cutting, truthful and intelligent as ‘On The Regular’ whilst in his teens, you begin to understand the startling possibilities of the artist. A true product of the MTV generation, Bailey reaches back to decades preceding his year of birth and accumulates these influences and upbringing into a succinct, alt-pop record that is as intelligent as it is infectious.

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