SHALOM - SUBLIMATION Vinyl LP
Shalom makes strikingly direct music with such emotional openness and clarity that each track on her debut album Sublimation feels like a quiet revelation. While the Brooklyn-based, South Africa-raised artist writes fearlessly personal songs about moments in her life combining the storytelling of Lucy Dacus with the urgency of Indigo De Souza, her honesty is so blunt it’s inviting. Her lyrics clear whatever tension there is to make room for catharsis. These 13 tracks are a reflection of the many sides of herself with stories of heartbreak, feeling like an outsider, self-medicating and partying, and ultimately choosing love over fear. While she paints the edges of indie rock, Shalom along with her collaborator Ryan Hemsworth (Quarter-Life Crisis) team up for challenging and vivid arrangements that are danceable, driving, and also delicate.
Though Shalom has only been writing her own songs since the summer of 2020, she’d played bass in a band in the New Brunswick DIY scene. Following the dissolution of her band, she went through a period of mourning and writer’s block. “It was some of the most painful, creative experiences I've ever had,” she says. She wrote “Concrete,” the first song she ever wrote and produced herself, as a way to process the loss of that creative outlet. It’s a gorgeous track complete with yearning strings and Shalom singing, “We watched the future that we built just slip away / I still think of you almost every day / But there are good things in life no one can force you to take.” Even though it was her debut song, there’s depth and generosity tucked in each line.
Many of the songs on Sublimation came together almost instantly with Shalom sitting down with her bass and coming out with a fully-written song in a couple of hours. Standout “Lighter,” Shalom recalls, took 45 minutes. Arguably the poppiest song on the record with its breezy indie rock arrangement, she sings over shimmering guitars, “so done with being myself / I’d rather be anyone else / I’m tired of being a fighter.” Despite the unflinching subject matter, Sublimation is not a difficult listen. “The record is an introduction to me as a songwriter,” she says. “I think it shows my versatility, but really, it’s me being really honest, earnest, and naked. You can see my bones on this record. I'm okay with it though, because I’ve got to get it out.”