Having produced one of the standout alt-pop albums of 2016 in the shape of her debut ‘Nothing’s Real’, Shura aka Alexandra Denton returns with ‘Forevher’, a slinky collection of electro pop with a side order of old school R‘N’B, pulsating with high romance, religion and the box fresh urge to get it on.
Indeed, much of ‘Forevher’ centres around Shura’s lust for her new girlfriend, and never more so than on the Technicolor perfume of The Stage – a modern remake of Can’t Take My Eyes of You and Let’s Get It On rolled into one. The importance of LGBT+ acts singing songs of such unabashed and unbridled passion shouldn’t be underestimated.
Many parts of the world aren’t as progressive and accepting of all forms of natural love as Ireland is, and the narrow-mindedness of large swathes of America (and beyond) looms large on ‘Forevher’, as does the battle between religion, spirituality and self-acceptance in the LGBT+ community.
Shura puts herself forwards as the lesbian pope in the video for Religion (U Can Lay Your Hand On Me) with a definite nod to the Thin White Duke for good measure, while the track itself drips with sub-disco funk that Barry White would have devoured.
Lust gives way to absence and reflection midway through the album as Shura finds herself apart from her new love as she travels across America on tour.
She struggles to deal with the absence and feels guilty for enjoying herself. Many of the tracks deal with the distance and the transient nature of touring, and the intense loneliness of racking up the frequent flyer miles when you’re not sure if the person you are texting too much is your girlfriend or not.
Tommy takes on the vast distance, while Princess Leia pays homage to Carrie Fisher with a paranormal daydream rapped in a love song. Flyin’ asks the most poignant question. Why are people prepared to believe in the Virgin Mary, yet deny the various forms of natural love which have existed since the birth of man – which they can see before their very eyes every day.
Flyin’ will no doubt ruffle some feathers, but it’s an exquisite reflection on the subject and is the highlight of the more plaintive piano based songs on the album.
Other highlights include Control, where delivers a slice of ‘90s R’N’B goodness and offers a glimpse into a possible future for Shura penning hits for the divas new and old.
With ‘Forevher’, Shura has further developed her songwriting chops and crafted another delicious slice of pop without repeating herself, which is no mean feat. Arise pope Shura, we’ve never seen so much white smoke.