Album: Shystie

Diamond in the Dirt, POLYDOR
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The Independent Culture

For all its youthful feistiness, this debut album from Chanelle "Shystie" Scott Calica, the latest break-out act from the UK garage scene, is one of the year's more depressing releases. Is this formulaic doggerel really being hailed as innovative and distinctive? Because if Simon Cowell had set out to create a Garage Idol with his usual focus on the bland and undemanding, he would probably have devised something not far removed from Shystie, with her frantic, aimless babbling, her assumptions of repression, her dimwit regard for casual criminality and the talk-to-the-hand attitude of a Trisha guest. The torrent of clichés begins with the a cappella "Intro", a bunch of "I will survive" and "no one can judge me" tosh delivered with the bogus conviction and exaggerated reproach common to most lower-league exponents of the hip-hop art. It's baffling: if the garage scene is as back-biting and spiteful as Diamond in the Dirt implies, why on earth would she want to be a part of it?

For all its youthful feistiness, this debut album from Chanelle "Shystie" Scott Calica, the latest break-out act from the UK garage scene, is one of the year's more depressing releases. Is this formulaic doggerel really being hailed as innovative and distinctive? Because if Simon Cowell had set out to create a Garage Idol with his usual focus on the bland and undemanding, he would probably have devised something not far removed from Shystie, with her frantic, aimless babbling, her assumptions of repression, her dimwit regard for casual criminality and the talk-to-the-hand attitude of a Trisha guest. The torrent of clichés begins with the a cappella "Intro", a bunch of "I will survive" and "no one can judge me" tosh delivered with the bogus conviction and exaggerated reproach common to most lower-league exponents of the hip-hop art. It's baffling: if the garage scene is as back-biting and spiteful as Diamond in the Dirt implies, why on earth would she want to be a part of it? Don't try asking Shystie, though, for as she bluntly asserts in the abysmal TV-show skit "Questions", the minimal amount of media coverage she's been gifted so far has already tested her temper to destruction: "Questions after questions bein' asked/ I don't know how long my patience gonna last". To about track nine, in my case.

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