Shahin Badar “Laila” Album Review
The album is decorated in a serious swirl of influences, some which pay respect to her Essex birthplace (I’m talking Jamiroquai and Blur, not Jodie Marsh) and some which pay homage to her childhood in Kuwait.
Bedouin vibes play alongside with guest spots from the likes of Tim Deluxe, Stock and Beirut Biloma, and on tracks and we get to hear the vocals that has got Shahin her credibility.
You know you’re onto something good when your vocals are featured on a Prodigy track. Of course I’m talking about Shahin’s immense vocals on “Smack My Bitch Up”, a release that helped Prodigy to earn a plethora of record plaques and awards, and helped give their album “Fat of the Land” cult classic status. The same style is echoed through a number of the tracks on her new album, notably “Mundaya” and “Jhoom Jhoom” where there is a lighthearted Bollywood atmosphere. “Yeh Rog” featuring Beirut Biloma has Arabic influences, especially on the decadent string section. Shahin is obviously a lady with an inner warrior, as we see on “Bangladesh”, where she unleashes her powerhouse voice.
“Diggin” is another song with a message, where she interrogates “What you wearing? Why you swearing?” Her vocal style sways from haunting and soft and then strong and melodic from one verse to another. “Distortion” and “Queen of Punjab” simmer away and melt into the next track, while the remix of “Yeh Rog” featuring Stock takes on an RnB vibe. The album really encompasses a variety of sounds from all over the world.
While this album won’t set the music world alight, it should be recognised as the mark of an artist with a few tricks up her sleeve.