It seems as if 2015 is the year for old styles to re-emerge in popular music. Sounding as if he’d listened to disco music from the late ’80’s his entire life, 20-year old Shamir Bailey grew up in what he calls “cookie-cutter suburban” Las Vegas , before signing to XL, and releasing his debut record Ratchet. “Growing up in Vegas and being the weird one out, you kind of have to put on a tough face,” he says, and with a style that’s only describable as a post-gender LCD Soundsystem with a love for golden aged Madonna-like percussion, Ratchet employs these seemingly lost avenues of music production and arrangement with his glossy and surprisingly high-pitched Prince-like vocals.
Kicking off the album promotion with a “Call it Off” Relationship Hotline, named after the single, “Call It Off,” Shamir offered to help his callers out with their relationship needs. A touch of humor and a bit of seriousness, the hotline was a perfect representation of who Shamir is as an artist. Mainly a dance record, with pumping House-style kicks and looping high-frequency synth lines, Shamir tackles his debut album with a strong confidence toward who he is, unafraid of what the world will think, though sometimes juxtaposed with a hint of vulnerability; he’s only human. An honest record, Ratchet is definitely a new one for the music palette, and while Ratchet might not fit everyone’s immediate tastes, I’m excited to hear more out of Shamir in the following years.