Shamir – ‘Ratchet’

Shamir - 'Ratchet'


The Las Vegas singer mines the soulful plasticity of '80s pop on his sparky debut album

For someone born in 1994, Shamir Bailey has managed to absorb a hell of a lot of the soulful plasticity of music made in the ‘80s. ‘Ratchet’, the Las Vegas singer’s debut, contains all the ingredients of vintage dance bangers: metronomic drum machines like Chicago DJ Jesse Saunders (‘Head In The Clouds’); melodic synth lines punctuated by bursts of dissonance reminiscent of Frankie Knuckles’ ‘Baby Wants To Ride’ (‘Make A Scene’); androgynous vocals that borrow from gospel like Prince on ‘When Doves Cry’ (‘Hot Mess’). For all that, this record still sounds fresh, full of warmth, spontaneity and spark. It helps too that ‘On The Regular’, ‘Call It Off’ and ‘In For The Kill’ are stone-cold pop anthems, bouncing between Azealia Banks hip-house, elastic disco and the strut of a drunken Hercules & Love Affair. ‘Darker’, meanwhile, is a brooding ballad of strings and drums that shows another side to Shamir. This combination of pop and disco makes ‘Ratchet’ the perfect summer soundtrack. Sometimes you’ve got to party like it’s 1989.

Ben Cardew


Director: Nick Sylvester, Godmode
Record label: XL
Release date: 18 May, 2015