It seems odd to think that we’re only now writing about Natalie Shay’s debut EP. Ever since we covered her stunning single ‘This Feeling’ back in 2018 she’s been part of the furniture here on the blog, an unquestioned Belwood favourite right from the off. With just a handful of singles to her name she’s not only won us over, but has also become one of the UK’s most sensational rising stars. With each new release she has generated major buzz in the indie pop world, added to her ever growing legion of fans, and has also grown ever more assured as a songwriter and performer. Her previous releases have seen her sound grow and change, only to finally bloom on Naked as a glorious fusion of nostalgic day-glo 80s vibes and effervescent indie pop energy.
Shimmering synths, bright melodies and irresistibly danceable grooves are the order of the day here, and the infectious carefree spirit that pervades the record knows no bounds. ‘Not The Girl’ and ‘People Like Me’ boast manic wailing guitar solos, the title track ‘Naked’ has a delightful dash of retro sax, and the new stripped back version of ‘Yesterday’ adds so much depth to the track. Beneath the buoyant enthusiasm of the music however lies lyricism that details how messy and uncertain relationships can be; all the fear, temptation and conflict. The end result is a bittersweet record that feels, in more ways than one, like a John Hughes film – defiantly fun and uplifting in the face of unresolved struggles and emptiness. For most artists a debut EP is a shaky first step into the wider world, but for Natalie Shay it feels like a culmination of everything she’s worked hard to build, and a promise that this is still only the beginning.
Fans of Fickle Friends, Clean Cut Kid and 80s pop should check out Natalie’s Naked EP