Alexis Smith

Recording under the name Errunhrd, Niagara Falls-based producer and performer Shirin Ghoujalou understands the inherent symbiosis between sweaty dancefloor abandon and a full-on emotional catharsis. “Atbp2”, her latest single, blends dark synths and infectious beats, charming even the most stubbornly stoic wallflower into swaying their hips. According to Ghoujalou, the song is “fueled by a lot of anxiety and assumptions you make when you care a lot about someone but are stuck in a downward spiral.”  As such, it picks up the tempo in comparison to Errunhrd’s previous output (check out last year’s I Liked You Better When You Were Mine EP).

What’s consistent, though, is Ghoujalou’s voice, floating spectrally through “Atbp2” like an eerie, otherworldly narrator sending shivers down your spine. “But there’s room for hope in there too,” she says. “I like when you get to draw your own conclusions about a song,” noting the subtle dichotomy as she sings “I am scared” and “I ain’t scared” as the song draws to an end. Errunhrd extends that sense of ambiguity to the song’s title: “It stands for ‘Afraid to break part 2’,” she explained to me recently, adding that “in all honesty, I’m not so sure myself where the first part is, but I just know this didn’t feel like part 1.”

That totally makes sense. “Atbp2” has an air of unfinished business, a reckoning with the uncertainty that stokes its fire. It’s the kind of scary/sad dance song that creeps across the dancefloor into the dark corners of the club or finds you alone in your bedroom with the shades down and volume turned up and challenges you to resist its beat.

Orville Peck
Craig Aalders