It’s been two years since the world had its first introduction to Shura (real name Aleksandra Yakunina-Denton) and her track Touch. Its upload to SoundCloud and YouTube began to earn acclaim from various internet blogs and critics alike back in early 2014, reinforced by its powerful music video which features Shura and her friends kissing each other, regardless of gender. The video later went viral and its views on YouTube currently stand at over twenty five million. Despite its impressive response, however, it is only now that it has been released as an official single and available to download.
Touch is a light and effervescent synth-pop track on which Shura’s influences are made crystal clear. It’s a little bit ‘90s R&B, a little bit ‘80s pop, with fragments of early Madonna and Janet Jackson in addition to more contemporary artists such as Dev Hynes and Blood Orange. Its influences are superfluous, however. Touch holds its own as one of 2016’s best songs so far and remains a stand-out track in Shura’s slowly expanding catalogue of music.
Opening with a muffled sample of talking voices and static, it evolves into a hazy, summery R&B-infused jam, comprised of fuzzy analogue synthesisers, twinkling pianos, a funky bass line and a brilliantly catchy chorus. It’s simple but effective, driven by its fidgety production by Shura herself and Athlete’s Joel Pott.
The track’s deceptively simple lyrics are submerged in the track’s overall carefree tone. Shura’s almost-whispered vocals are soft and yearning, reminiscent of Janet Jackson at her most vulnerable, reverberating infinitely into the meticulously layered electronica.
As its sparkling instrumentation fades away, it is clear that Shura is in possession of something very special indeed. Following her warm reception to the industry and with highly-anticipated debut album ‘Nothing’s Real’ due for release on 8th July, it is likely that Shura is set to have an incredible year.
By Marc Barritt