by Matthew Hirsch (@pocketsssssss)
Artists create worlds. From the landscape of Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions, Van Morrison’s adventures in the slipstream, and the planet of Ziggy Stardust’s origin, great songwriters are able to let the characteristics of the places inside their minds permeate their work. Some achieve this so cogently that, even if for only an instant, listeners can find sanctuary in escaping to a new, intriguing place.
The surge in popularity of streaming services and their carefully curated playlists has, to a certain degree, diminished the frequency with which people listen to full albums or bodies of work, but there are still plenty of world-creators making cohesive and thoughtful music. One of these artists is Shormey, a Virginia-based musician who crafts ethereal and grooving jams that fall somewhere between disco, funk, and psychedelia. On her debut EP Boogie Tape Vol. 1, she proves that, while her music may have a retro aesthetic and call to mind some artists of the past, Shormey is simultaneously in her own lane, writing and recording the music of the future from the comfort of her bedroom.
Boogie Tape wastes no time letting listeners dive in as the warm, vintage-sounding synths and driving bassline of “Boogie Island” provide an excellent introduction to Shormey’s universe. Her velvet-smooth and reverb-dipped vocals sit atop the mix as she sings about feeling lost and, perhaps, finding some solace on “Boogie Island.” Part of what makes the song special is the fact that Shormey refuses to inundate listeners with details about her world. Rather than painting a literal and detailed picture of “Boogie Island” with her lyrics, she allows people to be immersed in its sounds and draw their own conclusions from her words. Luckily, the sounds on Boogie Tape are excellent throughout.
“Cruise!” showcases Shormey’s playful side as she remarks “Netflix got ‘The Godfather?’ YES, Jesus!” during the intro before launching into an endlessly danceable tune that features an excellent guitar-fueled psychedelic breakdown. Where “Cruise!” makes everything in Shormey’s world seem good and well, “LA” paints a darker picture as she sings, “He knows every beat of my heart / But I don’t see the day ‘til the dawn / Am I losing it?” over bright synth organ textures and swinging congas.
Overall, Shormey has truly hit on something special with Boogie Tape Vol 1. Many artists are able to achieve adherence to a cohesive aesthetic in their songs. What sets Shormey’s music apart is her ability to convey a complex and varied palette of emotions atop a cohesive aesthetic. Additionally, her sound is legitimately different and her reference points are clearly separate from those often called to mind by other DIY music. Her upcoming tour supporting Crumb and Divino Niño is sure to garner her a multitude of new fans, who will all get their own special experience on “Boogie Island.” Personally, I can not wait for my own trip back.