Referencing the likes of Aphex Twin, Fever Ray, Anne Brigs, Björk, Erykah Badu, André 3000 and Low among your primary influences doesn’t only demonstrate a burning fervour to be filed alongside those most impulsive of popular music’s more vanguardist artists, but also suggests South London’s Shivum Sharma is only too open to anything and everything, irrespective of futile stylistic compartmentalisation. Such outward neutrality, and indeed musical acceptance is a real breath of refreshment in a Generation Y it’s nigh on impossible not to find yourself questioning the integrity thereof with increasing recurrence and ire alike. Why, oh why is so much sightless hope, on behalf of artist and audience likewise, invested in the vapid dreams smashed to smithereens on television screens weekly? Y can’t we employ propR eng n txt conversation? And thus merely to happen upon Sharma, who has somehow only latterly turned eighteen, goes quite some way to dispelling all of the above in the one (albeit highly dramatised) fell swoop.
For the porcelaneous vocalist’s latest, Flicker, glistens with a stunning sense of accomplishment to so emphatically belie his scanty years. “You looked at me, as you spoke the words of a red rose” Sharma begins, before embarking upon an impressionistic waltz through pastoral gates leading to paths and secret gardens that’s vivid as Frances Hodgson Burnett’s abiding masterpiece is quintessentially British. His words roll softly along spectral pianistic refrains, occasionally punctuated by cushioning palls of mellowed harmony, and without question his is a voice to have Gary Barlow’s chubby dropped jowls glued to the perturbingly sticky floor of Wembley Arena. James Blake comparisons will, with time, doubtless abound as well, although if further citing the likes of Antony and the Johnsons and Minnie Riperton should do anything, then it ought to suggest that Sharma shan’t succumb to such insipidity any time soon.
And just like that, the light has quite incontrovertibly already begun to flicker.