a_shes' debut album, 'young adult fiction', emerges as a poignant narrative of the trials and tribulations of growing up, set against a backdrop of alternative pop that echoes the stylings of contemporaries like Lorde and Troye Sivan.
The lowercase aesthetic and punchy beats provide a familiar contemporary resonance, but a_shes takes it further by transporting listeners back to the indie scene of the early 2010s, evoking a sense of nostalgia that permeates the entire album.
The opening track, "autumn city," sets the stage with sparkling keyboard-led melodies, akin to a plot introduction, as a_shes croons about the anticipation of starting a new life. 'party politics' emerges as the perfect soundtrack for a night out, with infectious pre-choruses leading into vibrant choruses that compel the listener to surrender to the neon dance floor.
'movies & music,' a standout track and a_she's debut single, is a haunting ode to lost adolescence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Inspired by works like Lorde's 'Pure Heroine' and Troye Sivan's 'Blue Neighbourhood,' the track, produced by Imad Salhi, intertwines hypnotic synth pads and acoustic guitar to convey a sense of grasping onto the remnants of the past. This theme of loss continues in the melancholic ballad 'jet streams,' where a_shes explores the complexities of adult loneliness in the face of fleeting relationships.
The album, written over two years, transcends its humble beginnings on Garageband, evolving into a professionally recorded and produced masterpiece. 'glory days,' the closing track, serves as a breakup anthem mourning the loss of childhood innocence amid the transition to adulthood. Despite the overarching themes of nostalgia and loss, a_shes infuses 'young adult fiction' with a sense of hope, creating a triumphant sonic journey that is both accessible and deeply relatable. With this debut, a_shes solidifies himself as a promising indie artist on the brink of stardom.