Shygirl: Nymph review – a sensuous, playful debut

With her soft, almost-whispered falsetto floating over low-frequency beats, London-based Blane Muise, AKA Shygirl, has become a sensuous and pervasive force in UK club music over the past five years. Regularly collaborating with experimental producers such as Arca and the late Sophie, Muise has established herself as the perfect vocalist to slip between the melodic cracks of their fractal sound design. On 2020’s Slime, for instance, she sing-raps with a skittering percussiveness over Sophie’s sparse basslines, while 2018’s Nasty pits Muise’s languid vocal against Sega Bodega’s thundering trap drums.

On her debut album, the typical grit of Muise’s productions are supplanted by something altogether brighter. Opener Woe hints at her earlier output with its sinister bass synth, but Nymph soon opens out into the plucked guitar melodies of Shlut and Firefly’s hyperpop inflections. Highlights come on Coochie (A Bedtime Story), when Muise’s sexual lyrics pair with the track’s singsong melodies to create a playful exploration of intimacy, while on Honey, jungle breakbeats are transmuted into an R&B ballad by her entreating vocals. Having explored the darker side of the dancefloor, Nymph finds Muise experimenting with its more irreverent aspects.