BMA Magazine – Shameem, The Second City (album review)

Album review from BMA Magazine!

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Made with crowd funding and WA Government support, singer songwriter Shameem Taheri-Lee has released her second album. Her website likes to compare Shameem to US warbler Alicia Keys and the West Australian does have both a voice with similar qualities and a fondness for the metronomic beat Keys favours in some of her songs (such as ‘Un-Thinkable’).

Shameem is a classy crooner, effortlessly laying down smooth as silk soul and RnB tracks, while exhibiting an impressive vocal range and tonal flexibility. Or, expressed less technically, she sings like a funky angel. Electronic vocal manipulation is used sparingly and while she engages is some vocal gymnastics, just because she can, any urge to overdo this has been thankfully resisted. The Second City breaks new ground for Shameem with a more polished production and cohesive approach to the album, with the inclusion of several brief interludes in which the singer expresses her appreciation for life and those she loves. However, this gives the album an overly sweet, syrupy vibe. The extra spit and polish has resulted in more complex songs and a sound closer to mainstream pop. Notable tracks include the jazzy ‘Hole in My Heart’, with its mix of smooth and broken vocal delivery and ‘Chill in the Fire’ with the exotic allure of some Persian lyrics from Shidan Toloui-Wallace. However, the highlights are those in which Shameem casts off the cabaret/lounge tone and dips her foot into other genres, such as the rock edge to ‘Expectation’ and the brief sortie into electro-pop in ‘I Give Thanks’. Shameem is at her most engaging when expressing angst, putting some torque into her voice in ‘Give Me a Reason’ or displaying anger in ‘Imposter’.

by Rory McCartney

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