Friday, December 19th, 2014

Shura – Touch

Courtesy of Josh W.


Josh Winters: Around 3 a.m. a couple nights ago, I watched this gay short film called Ronny & I about two young best friends on a weekend getaway. One of them is closeted and in love with the other, and when he admits his true feelings, not only does his friend accept him for his true self, he allows for them to be together for just one evening. I ended up loving the short but it seemed too much like the stuff of fantasies, entertained late at night in vulnerable states. It was around 1 a.m. when “Touch” first connected with me, while I was doing nothing but laying in bed and looking up at the Christmas lights that encircle me. It fit the vibe of the room: it needed that specific stillness, that kind of intimacy. It demands one’s full attention, blurring everything around into abstraction. The placid pads pull you into Shura’s dreamscape and guide you along the way, passing by flickers of light fragmented from one another. With every impulse of desire she expresses, she restrains herself, forming the basis of her tense inner conflict. Yet, while every repeated sentiment feels raw and honest and brave and direct, she sounds as if she has subconsciously accepted their reality, despite the nuances of heartbreak and yearning in her voice, like when the melody lifts ever so slightly for certain words and phrases. So ephemeral, so deliberate. But it had been that long, and it did feel that way. That brief detail wasn’t just accurate or painfully relatable; it was correct. I can’t help but recall the memories of when we got lost in cars together: when we were alone and our limbs laid horizontal, when we returned to each other after running away so many times. I wonder if they ever keep him up as well.

Brad Shoup: “I only need you to be French with me,” says Shura, and sister, believe me, I’ve been meaning to learn the stuff. It’d really impress Cat’s grandmother. Anyway, the track is spare, shellshocked: Shura layers in crowd noise like she’s on Christine and the Queens’ train platform. The lack of touch in the track plays well with the text, but the lightness in the delivery makes it harder for this song to land as something other than exhumation.

Iain Mew: I can remember the moments of being with That Person, no longer a couple but with just enough ambiguity about whether it should stay that way there to make every glance take on massive significance. At every silence, the world seems to move in slow motion even before something as breath-catching as a brush of skin against skin. That’s the experience that Shura takes on and completely inhabits in “Touch”, mentioning history and three years and desire and pushing it all back in. The song stays hushed and prickly, and its sense of heightened awareness is as gorgeous as it is uneasy.

Anthony Easton: The lacunae is such an example of erotic control that it makes Eurobosh both high camp and low serious. 

Alfred Soto: Another entry in a fecund branch of electronic R&B, indebted to Aaliyah, brought to Pitchfork by Solange Knowles, and culminating in albums by Tinashe and Jhene Aiko. It requires a plaster cast stillness: tremble an inch and the illusion is gone. Let the gradations in the keyboard lines do the work.

Micha Cavaseno: I’ll never quite understand how whenever more ‘indie-ish’ acts like say Shura or The Inc. or Blood Orange attempt their takes on R&B, there’s such aspirations for this oceanic vibe; maybe it’s their attempt at mimicking the static and distortion coming from YouTube digging old tracks like this and emulating their feel, or maybe a natural barrier to the earthy and blaring quality of the mainstream’s blaring GOTTA HAVE SOUL tendencies. Maybe they listened to Sade on a Walkman while visiting a beach in their pasts — whatever. But where do they all seem to generate this tropicalia sub-reach of R&B that needs to be windswept and ready to plunge into depths? I’m asking for a friend, you see…

Patrick St. Michel: “I want to touch you but there’s history” is the splash of cold water that made me snap out of just thinking this sounded like an icy glide. It isn’t about flat-out heartbreak, but something far more sad, which is the how relationships change so quickly (“three years”). Far more painful than a lot of similar sounding sad stuff. 

Thomas Inskeep: What I wanted Jessie Ware’s second album to sound like: sleek, downtempo alt-R&B. 

Sonia Yang: Underwhelming upon first listen but starts to dig into a bittersweet nostalgia with each subsequent play. It almost hits the mark but narrowly misses too many times; the tender longing fades as quickly as it begins. I feel like this is the kind of song a HAIM cover could do great things with.

Reader average: [7.75] (4 votes)

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3 Responses to “Shura – Touch”

  1. Josh your blurb is slightly devastating.

  2. thanks! that’s what i was going for!

  3. Great find and great blurbs! Vocal melody somehow reminds me of Lorde’s Tennis Court but I might be alone on that one since no one mentioned her.