Ratchet (XL Recordings)
Reviewed by Abby Johnston, Fri., June 26, 2015
Not often does one get a glimpse of Sin City that doesn't involve a casino. Shamir Bailey's debut LP, Ratchet, evidences not a single grain of Sinatra swing in its electronic grit. The Las Vegas native cuts fat, luscious beats that tap into a Todd Terje electronic indulgence. As the slow thump of "Vegas" introduces Ratchet in an eerie haze, Bailey's smooth tenor punches above a nuanced build of horns and digital quips. Early single "On the Regular" hyperdrives cowbell, bounce, and no small amount of swag, all of which is continued in a one-two punch with fellow standout "Call It Off." Underneath the kitsch, there's the bizarre experimentation heard on the opener. The deconstructed disco of "Youth" reimagines mirror-ball dance floors into glamorous but off-kilter synth glitch. Bailey pivots again with "In for the Kill," dissonant horns lapsing into a delicious, in-your-face dance floor confessional. In true Vegas fashion, Ratchet gambles at every turn and comes up a major player.