Shygirl – ‘ALIAS’ review: futuristic club-rap bangers from underground queen’s fantasy universe

The versatile London artist commandeers a maximalist joyride that sounds like it’s been beamed in from the cyber-rave dancefloors of 2080

“Pure fucking fire!” That’s how alt-pop prince Oscar Scheller raved about his paradoxically-named collaborator Shygirl’s ‘ALIAS’ project on Instagram. Honestly, he’s spot on. Having built up a cult following online and IRL since 2016 debut ‘Want More’, the South London rapper, NUXXE label co-founder and Arca collaborator delivers lightning-speed bars over her producer mates’ futuristic mutant club beats. By utilising the mind-bending talents of sega bodega, SOPHIE, Happa, Kai Whiston and Karma Kid across seven underground anthems-in-waiting, ‘ALIAS’ quickly unfolds into a no-holds-barred romp through 90s Eurodance, 00’s R&B and of-the-moment UK rap.

With the EP running like a 19-minute series of flashing strobes, Shygirl wastes no time easing newcomers into her world subtly. Quite the opposite, in fact: conjuring up an X-rated atmosphere from the off, the pitched-up call-and-response of opener ‘TWELVE’ drips temptation (“why ride with the devil when I can give you hell?”) over an eerie saw-like synth that wouldn’t score even the most haunting of Jordan Peele’s horror moments

The murky mood gets even dirtier: the unapologetically seductive ‘SLIME’, thumping industrial eroticism of ‘FREAK’ and fantastically filthy ‘BAWDY’ are destined to soundtrack debauched moments of hedonistic 3am pleasure at Berlin nightclub Berghain – should we ever be able to get back in. On ravey piano banger ‘TASTY’, she wittily dissects what finer things she expects in life over bouncing breakbeat production. But it’s the grime-infused ‘LENG’ that proves Shygirl’s versatility, as she spits mile-a-minute bars over revved-up production from Happa.

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He’s also credited on the final track and EP highlight ‘SIREN’ – a thrilling fusion of 90s Eurodance and fizzed-up PC Music sonics that breaks all limits, it obliterates anything that dares get in the way. Their lines of “fast cars” and “city lights” conjure an image of Shygirl and her crew jumping into a hovercar and zooming across a ‘Blade Runner’ style world, passing towering VR billboards of her aliases Baddie, Bonk, Bovine and Bae, birthed in the surreal Bratz-style animated video for ‘FREAK’.

‘ALIAS’ proves that Shygirl is in full control of her artistic vision no matter the scale. Undaunted by the prospect of not being able to bring the EP to physical life until her UK and Europe tour in May 2021, Shygirl has instead created her own alternative reality for fans to immerse themselves in.

Details

  • Release date: November 20
  • Record label: Because Music
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