Written By: Emma Robins
On its surface, Sakima’s Facsimile sounds like the archetype EP of today’s pop. These four tracks distinctly fit with his contemporary pop peers. Facsimile features simple and repetitive riffs, ample auto-tune, and lyrics rooted in sexual and emotional frustration (“Baby I need you/to get lit in the morning”)– one is reminded of the Chainsmokers. While the musicality of the EP is not particularly original, it is certainly well-executed; Sakima’s voice is entrancing, the songs are immediately catchy, and prolonged instrumentals in tracks such as “What I Know Now” provide variety. This London-based artist makes music which is highly entertaining, and will keep listeners dancing, at the very least.
The true originality of Sakima’s work isn’t necessarily musical; rather, he bends the pop genre by using the genre’s mechanisms to convey a radically different message. The repetition of lyrics set to danceable beats drives home a narrative which is pointedly queer. Facsimile documents Sakima’s “insecurities, sexual experiences and youth without leaving anything behind, and without disguising those parts of [himself] in rhetoric.” These tracks use the same tools which have enshrined heteronormativity in the pop genre, and redirects them towards queer passion. Sakima has a “mission of normalising gay narratives within pop music” (Soundcloud), and Facsimile is the perfect first step. It is musically accessible to a broad audience, while proclaiming queer relationships with the same unabashed confidence as is present in cis-hetero mainstream pop.
Beyond its radical social potential, Facsimile is a profoundly vulnerable album. The lyrics ring clearly, and convey real experiences of love and loss– “I’m stupid/because you fucked me up/but I keep on runnin’ to ya” (“I Used to Have an En Suite”). The EP tells a story of unhealthy relationships, drunk nights, and irrepressible attraction, firmly rooted in Sakima’s lived experiences. With his distinct and haunting voice, Sakima fills simple lyrics with believable emotion. He is not aiming for ambiguity, but a straightforward expression of himself. This vulnerability adds depth to typical pop tropes, even as it urges listeners to dance.