TSHA – ‘OnlyL’ EP review: London producer readies a return to the dancefloor

As anticipation builds for a debut album, the Ninja Tune-signee pairs songwriting exploration with club-ready beats

TSHA is a fan of revelations and evolutions. To stay inspired and engaged, she “wants to make sure that I’m always changing” so that when the eventual debut album arrives, “people shouldn’t be confused” about who she is and her musicality, she told NME last year. TSHA had just released their ‘Flowers’ EP, a new string to the London DJ’s bow, fusing her rock and pop skills into dancefloor groovers. The November release was influenced by a family revelation and the discovery of a long-lost sister, resulting in joyous creations as the foundations around her shifted ever.

It was around the time of the EP’s release that the reality of the coronavirus pandemic set in: gigs were cancelled, nightclubs closed for over a year, and many rising artists had to abandon their craft. ‘Flowers’ EP was serendipitously timed, reframing her songwriting and producing chops in a time when live performances were restricted, but it was clear that the urge to revert to the house-fuelled club stompers that made her name – and landed her a record deal with British electronic label Ninja Tune [Bicep, India Jordan] – would eventually return.

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The three-track ‘OnlyL’ EP finds a fertile middleground for TSHA to explore and experiment within. In scarcely thirteen minutes, she fuses her pop songwriting flair with grooves influenced by her time behind the decks and in muddy fields. The self-titled opener is a fantastic example of that; she surrounds Nimmo’s superb vocal with spritely hooks and melodies, knowing that much of the hard work – that heavenly pre-chorus – has already been completed.

The full might of her production prowess emerges on ‘Power’, the EP’s stomping highlight. Using the basis of Brit Funkers Direct Drive’s 1982 sultry jam ‘I’m The One’, TSHA ups the pace by isolating the sharp drum loop, sprinkles steel-drum pangs and flashes the beaming smile that lights up her live performances. Closer ‘I Know’ is a nod to the ethereal material heard on her 2019 project ‘Moonlight’, but the sonic landscape is realised with finer detail; each note crisper, cleaner and more purposeful than anything before.

This is likely the final glimpse we receive of TSHA before an inevitable debut album next year, and the clues dropped here lead to the conclusion that her musical skills are ever growing. When that debut album arrives, there’ll be little surprise just how complete her artistry is already.

Details

TSHA OnlyL

  • Release date: August 27
  • Record label: Ninja Tune
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