Released: July 2022
Hailing from our very own South London, producer and singer-songwriter Shivum Sharma presents a delicate 4-track EP of alternative indie, soulful songwriting, and multi-faceted desire.
Opening with a wordless run of soprano harmonies atop a progression of tremolo organ chords, the project’s introduction ‘Satisfy’ is an engaging first statement. Through a journey into melody which compliments itself through euphoric soprano harmony, the typically indie production beneath is dextrously enriched by immaculate inflections of classical woodwind and string orchestration. The chords move often, deliberately avoiding consistent resolution - creating a continuous tide that pulls the chest between ease and anxiety.
The expertly mixed live drums of second track ‘Words’ give way to yet another set of expertly unresolved phrases on acoustic piano. Harmony that verges on biblical is confirmed by decorative harp as the sub bassline adds a necessarily weighted sensuality to what would otherwise be a work of utter purity. The track resolves on a heartbreaking descending progression that once again finds a curious resolution through the lack of it. These unique affectations warrant awarding Shivum the honour of genuine melodic originality.
Guitar and piano lead with a sombre yet punchy bass line, third track ‘Unconditional’ undeniably takes influence from Mac Ayers - it’s a bottomless well of heartbreaking chord changes that orchestrate a plea to an adoree to break from the bureaucratic social norms that are restricting them.
“At night you rest your head and forget,
that I see you, when you don’t see yourself. How I wish you’d speak for, yourself…”
The track is a reminder of the very real impacts of romantic attachment - for better and for worse. The frustration at seeing the object of your affection being pointlessly inhibited can be genuinely painful - incidentally affecting both parties involved, and I found the empathic assurance of ‘Unconditional’ genuinely comforting.
On first listen, I confess final track ‘Overload’ was my least favourite of the four but, upon further inspection, it revealed itself to be a mournful critique on London that impacted me deeply
“You take the best of me,
I’ve drained into your stream,
and I’m not fighting back,
The only way is up,
The rest compressed into dust,
to make way for new…”
Though jaded, it perfectly rounds off the project as the enigmatic crescendo of soprano vocals heightens the feeling of violent disconnect from London’s empty promises.
“I’m tired of this city,
scrubs up all too well,
and hides behind itself…”
For me, this project has provided great solace. Cynicism must be rebuked for it is not revolutionary; yet to quote Aldous Huxley "facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored". There is an undeniable space in the projected image of London’s music scene for some subjective truth and when presented within such musicality the blow feels like a kiss, leaving room for the re-entry of our most absent comrade, hope.