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Portrait of a Lady Tim London hears Shilpa Ray

Portrait of a Lady

Tim London hears Shilpa Ray

by Tim London,
first published: April, 2022
Finally. I've figured what the whole thing reminds me of...

Shilpa Ray
Portrait of a Lady
(Northern Spy)
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LP CoverThe track titles read like a list of required trigger sentences for Twitter. Shilpa’s slack-mouth diction makes it hard to discern lyrics, even though her voice sits in its own place in the mix, generally. So, no, I don’t know how ironic the words are, or whether they tackle the subject matter directly, or not.

Manic Pixie Dream Cunt (a man? An actual vagina?) channels raw but tidy Pattie Smith circa Horses and Radio Ethiopia. Heteronormative Horseshit Blues twangs like a hipster’s coffee dream. (NB: the first word is six syllables all by itself - six!).

Another New Jersey to New York transplant makes an appearance on Lawsuits and Suicide, with Debbie Harry’s trademark ‘grrr’ and note-reach featuring naturally, probably, rather than as an homage. The vocal wobbles, admittedly obscured by reverb, match the heavy duty tremolo arm business on guitar on Cry For The Cameras. And if I am focussing on the vocals that’s because the instrumentation and arrangements are fairly predictable rock music, mining various eras and artists. A bit of psych here, a bit of alt singer songwriter there, could be No Wave, could be New Wave.

With titles like Bootlickers of the Patriarchy and Male Feminist it’s a bit disappointing not to hear more Vi Subversa than rocknroll crooner but I suppose the idea is not to alienate the listeners…

A ‘swagger-Jagger man’ comes along as the Same Sociopath and the slightly clearer lyrics give me a clue that it might all be a bit arch, a bit NYC party chat. Militant but gossipy. 

Finally I’ve figured what the whole thing reminds me of… the theatrics and the musical-ality definitely have vibes of Rocky Horror Picture Show, as do the loving takes on hokey old rocknroll and teen dream ditties.

And like a NYC party, it’s an apparently super-important conversation that is forgotten two hours later on the subway.

Tim London

Tim London is a musician, music producer and writer. Originally from a New Town in Essex he is at home amidst concrete and grand plans for the working class. Tim's latest thriller, Smith, is available now. Find out more at timothylondon.com


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