Album Review Shygirl - Nymph4 Stars
Ultimately, ‘Nymph’ is a climax – a culmination of years of experimental foreplay – that puts Shygirl on the map as one of the UK’s freshest voices.
From Shygirl’s birth, London-born Blane Muise – a bombastic, otherworldly alt-pop messiah preaching cut-throat sensuality – put sex at the altar. She’s its greatest innovator and salesperson: deep cut ‘Rude’ is driven by berserker horror strings, while ‘Uckers’’s bloodthirsty nature screams sexy. The fantasy of Shygirl is clear: liberate a good shag (or sometimes, a bad one), at any cost. Her debut record ‘Nymph’ has no shortage of this approach, but this time it’s dark, watery and whimsical. It’s slower – and despite its genre-bending nature, incredibly cohesive in its quest to reach satisfaction. Opener ‘Woe’ is a tumble into an illustrious art-pop rabbit hole. ‘Heaven’, a cutesy pop song produced by Mura Masa, is shroom-tinted lust, while Magaluf-ian anthem ‘Poison’ is a foresty high. There are whispers of deconstructed early-noughties influence – smooth UK garage and sweet dreampop, to name a couple – that culminates best on ‘Little Bit’, a screeching, rusty playground that feels entirely Missy Elliott, and ‘Firefly’, a classic dancefloor filler.
But Shygirl’s fantasies merge best with the sparkling electronica of her contemporaries. There’s the extraterrestrial ‘Come For Me’, featuring avant-pop’s Arca; Sega Bodega and BloodPop’s ‘Shlut’, a trap track with a haunting future-pop chorus; and ‘Missin U’, again with Sega Bodega, a nightmarish siren rap about an ex’s sexual capabilities. Its standout, ‘Coochie (a Bedtime Story)’ is a sleepy daydream that desexualises Shygirl’s nymph, only for a moment. Ultimately, ‘Nymph’ is a climax – a culmination of years of experimental foreplay – that puts Shygirl on the map as one of the UK’s freshest voices. It honours the altar at which Shygirl was born, but gently trickles into an adjacent brook, to where we might see her next.
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