Written primarily about Shura’s relationship with her girlfriend and their long-distance conception, forevher covers everything from the initial pull of desire to recognizing the moment when the connection develops into something scarily meaningful: it’s a classic NYC-to-London love-story, but one told through the totally modern filter of dating apps, unanswered texts, and Skype chats.
Following the “swelling synths and pings of saxophone” (The FADER) of first track “BKLYNLDN,” Shura now presents ‘religion (u can lay your hands on me)’, – a mediation on queer desire that explores the concept of sex being like a religion. The song was inspired by the burgeoning love affair, a time of constant texts and phone calls on different continents, where the phrase “you can lay your hands on me” takes on a playful meaning.
The accompanying video similarly explores the relationship between the body, sin, and faith. Taking Shura’s initial visual inspiration – Jude Law in ‘The Young Pope’ – director Chloe Wallace creates “a certain kind of Eden. A new kind of Religion. For centuries we have been told by different faiths so much what is right, what is allowed…but here the leader is a woman, and the women are encouraged to love each other. We wanted to make a world of sexiness without being exploitative and iconography without being disrespectful.”
On her 2016 debut, Nothing’s Real, the half-Russian singer, songwriter and producer became an accidental ambassador for the lonesome and rejected. Its themes of anxiety, unrequited romance and the outsider were articulated in fantastical bedroom-pop, which earned Shura an impassioned global fanbase. Unsurprisingly, if you’d have told her just a few years ago that she’d make a follow-up exploring “all that love is” few would have been as surprised as herself. And whilst how to live – and love – as a queer woman has always been integral to Shura, it’s remarkable to hear the timeless stories of forevhertwisted into new sonic fabric: this time around, the inspiration of Joni Mitchell, The Internet, Prince and Minnie Ripertonformed the basis of a record that (despite its universal theme) still in many ways runs counter to the dominant cultural narratives.