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  • Flex Staff

a_shes to Release Debut LP "young adult fiction" 11/24

Alternative pop artist a_shes is positioning himself for indie stardom with debut album, young adult fiction, set for release on November 24th. The emerging singer/songwriter takes listeners through a ten-track journey of synthy, confessional melodies chronicling the all-too-relatable escapades of aging. “To me, it's a belated coming-of-age tragedy, especially for those of us who never had the cinema-perfect teenhood we saw on screen,” he shares. “It is a record about the anxieties of early adulthood and the stark realization that the real world is not like what we had fantasized or imagined.” Lowercase stylings and punchy beats, set to smooth vocals and infectious harmonies, are reminiscent of contemporary acts like Lorde, Troye Sivan, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Rina Samawaya.

a_shes is a Malaysian-Bornean artist based in the UK between London and Cambridge. Through his songwriting and composition, he transports his audience back to the early 2010s, calling upon the music of the indie scene that circulated in Tumblr at the time. The sound is instantly recognizable, and wildly nostalgic. With tracks that confront the turbulence of navigating young adulthood, he has positioned himself to connect with this audience even more intimately. Former releases have been praised by the likes of Earmilk, CLASH, and Fame Magazine.

young adult fiction instantly catapults the audience into a_she’s sonic world. The sparkling keyboard-led opening track “autumn city” begins like a true plot introduction: “Over the ocean, into the city for the first time,/ Touring on the cusp of starting a new life,” he sings. “party politics” has all of the trappings of the perfect soundtrack to a night out. Upbeat, spoken pre-choruses melt into bursting choruses that beg the listener to throw their hands up and move on the described, “neon dance floor.”

Standout track “movies & music” was inspired by a_she’s particularly poignant loss of adolescence during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also his debut single, released earlier this year. The aforementioned pieces of media that he was clinging onto (“I’m eighteen until I’m twenty-nine,” he laments) include the likes of Lorde’s Pure Heroine and Troye Sivan’s Blue Neighbourhood. Produced by London-based Palestinian artist Imad Salhi, the track swirls around hypnotic synth pads and a simple acoustic guitar, as he sings, “My age is going up in fumes.” It is a haunting ode to what could have been, and a grasp to the remains of the past. Themes of confusion and loss repeat in “jet streams,” a more melancholic ballad. He shares, “It's a song I wrote about being lost in the big city and coming to terms with adult loneliness and the transient nature of our relationships now that the daily structures we had like school are gone.”

The album was written over the course of two years, a creation that originated on an old Macbook’s Garageband and blossomed into a professionally recorded and produced feat. It is steeped in calls to the past, but reverberates with hope in the midst of the reminiscing. This is most evident in the closing track, “glory days.” Described as a, “breakup song mourning your childhood innocence as you transition into becoming a hardened adult,” it serves as an anthem for those afraid of leaving behind their past for the unknown.

a_shes blend of introspection and thematic sounds makes for a body of work that is not only triumphant in its sonic accessibility, but in its relatability.

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