Toast is a snack that offers a vast range of toppings.
“… from soft cheese to mackerel and everything in between.”
This freedom and choice is something that Shy Luv have been fascinating over. Just like the very idea of toasted bread and a topping, their latest EP, Lungs, is an absolute treat, and each song spreads something tasty.
“With this EP we really wanted to push the boundaries of our song writing.” Sam tells me, “We’re more comfortable than ever writing songs right now and hopefully that shows in the new music.” The Manchester duo wanted to draw from real life experiences when writing about the EP, and in this sense, it’s a “lot more ambitious,” and acted in preparation for the production of their forthcoming album.
‘Bloodsucker’ is a standout for this. Explaining how it’s “about experiencing sleep paralysis, the paranoia that goes with it and the strange feeling of familiarity with your demons” the track creeps up on you, and crawls up your spine, replicating the very notion. A psychedelic swirl of almost ethereal distortion, accompanied with glitchy electronics and laserbeamed vocals, ‘Bloodsucker’ is “almost a complete departure” from the Shy Luv dancefloor fillers that we’re familiar with.
Discussing how our generation has a “throwaway culture, especially with music and news,” the boys were keen to try and avoid this in the new EP. They even touch on the subject in opener, ‘Fashion’, lushing “You’re a slave to a common trend” with just the right dose of satire. “Everything seems to move so quickly and it becomes very easy for things to pass you by day to day. The way we consume music has changed so much and so quickly over the last 3 years that it’s definitely an interesting topic of conversation” Jake explains. The two probably describe their music best in a single word: “Evolving”. By delving into the depths of streaming platforms and paying particular attention to mixtapes, as well as listening to Italian soundtracks by composers like Piero Piccioni and Stelvio Cipriani – “a lot of that stuff is sample heaven.” Shy Luv manage to always stay ahead of the game.
Lungs captures the time that we’re living in. Honing in on the tactile club and dance soundscapes that they so wholly master, and adding layers of darkness and terror, beats that replicate the contrast between confusion and comfortability and elements of our versatile pop trends just enough, enables the pair to make a timeless mix that resonates and will continue to. “When we were writing the EP we wanted each track to conjure up certain thoughts and feelings and showcase different sounds we’ve been experimenting with over the last few months.” They explain. ”Hopefully feelings of nostalgia with ‘Lungs’ happiness with ‘Like a River’ and intensity and confusion with ‘Fashion’ and ‘Bloodsucker’.”
The EP is a treat for the senses. ‘Like A River’ could soundtrack your aerobics class, or be the sound to how your heart sounds when you fall head over heals. It’s jovial, upbeat and warming. Running on a feverish bassline and acting like that jolt of adrenaline that they describe, it’s cute in a way that truly satisfies your sweet-tooth craving but doesn’t quite give you a cavity. Lyrically, the track is a simple, almost childish, but beautiful love letter. “When it comes to lyrics and melodies we usually write together and bounce off each other because a song feels better when it means something to both of you. We have never been fans of working remotely.” They say. Accompanied by Bakar, there’s a particular energy to the delivery, in a break that was made to be sang aloud. Maybe from the rooftops, or outside the window of a high school crush. Confirming that they’re actually not so shy when it comes to love, the boys admit, “We’re both open books when it comes to stuff like that. Please feel free to cuddle us if we bump into you in the street.”
Whether you’re scared of what may meet you when you close your eyes, tired of the latest fashion trends or in a blissful haven of affection; Shy Luv have crafted an EP for you. Recognising that these emotions are intrinsically linked and overlapping, Lungs is a collection of songs to pick out at your need. Almost like how you choose your topping on toast.
Words by Tanyel Gumushan