Not the spelling mistake you might think, Scottish-Portuguese producer Su Shaw has created SHHE as a weird and wonderfully delicate electronica cloud. Instead of a comment on gender, it feels more appropriate to feel like SHHE is a noisy hush instead. That perfectly describes her debut album.
Opening with ‘Eyes Shut’ we are introduced to the mysterious shroud that will continue throughout the album. Misty mechanical percussion and synth organs rotate around in slow motion whilst Su takes charge vocally. It’s downtempo grooves mix with the more experimental electric synths beautifully and the track creeps up on you.
It’s that haunted minimalist creep vibe that SHHE stays in for ‘Saint Cyrus’ as she duals her vocals in a disenfranchised way, similar to the upcoming Saint Sister. Gradually over the course of the track electric plectrums of synth burps take over. Think Heinali but very chilled and you are there. the track would be meditative for dark elves and the same can be said for ‘Emma’. Here the electric guitar is delicately picked and slowly stretched out guitar echoes underscore the main melody. It is a definite mood – especially in the closing third when SHHE’s vocals take a distant Zola Jesus turn. It’s dark and delicious all at once.
The most minimal track is ‘Beds’ which features a pulsating kick drum and dissonant guitar noises that sprinkle around the vocals. It comes together to pay off at the end but I was primed for an almighty explosion that never comes. ‘BOY’ does give that pay off though. After another miserable and mysterious downtempo classic the bassline bursts into a buzzing frenzy as SHHE layers her vocals up over herself. It is the album standout for being able to hold such an entrancing space. The album then closes with ‘Maps’ and ‘Maps 2’ – two tracks that go together. The first gives nods to Mandalay styled chill-out vibes whilst the second is a spacious wibble-board synth instrumental of the track.
SHHE has crafted a bizarre and fascinating album that feels alien, strange, off-kilter and comfortably numbing. The ability to create certain moods and then really run with them is Su’s strength. The whole album feels like a slow-motion slide down a mental rabbit hole to conflicting thoughts and that makes each track an enigma.
Recommended track: BOY
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