Transparent red vinyl LP on Apollo. Sophomore album from Nadine Shah which she wrote the entirety of in two months, with in studio contributions with Pete Johnson (I am Kloot) it’s a brooding smoke-filled affair. For fans of PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, The National and there maybe a bit of Scott Walker in there as well.
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This is a very good record. I’ve never been a massive fan of PJ Harvey but it’s probably best if I use her as a mind numbingly obvious reference point to get you started. Nadine Shah, however is a more palatable proposition - injecting her songs with sweet choruses and a myriad of useful hooks to claw you in.
If you’ve had one ear on the radio over the past few weeks you’ll have heard ‘Fool’ - a wonderfully dark pop tune with Joey Santiago style guitars and a blossoming chorus. This ain’t no one song wonder though, throughout there are nuggets of grunge-inspired gold. It’s true that ‘90’s influences from Liz Phair to Nirvana to Nick Cave are easy to spot but Shah creates something new out of the murk. ‘Nothing Else to Do’ recalls the world of Jane Weaver back in her Misty Dixon guise and I’m reminded plenty of the wonderful Josephine Wiggs album of the mid ‘90’s. In other words it’s darkly gothic cinematic pop that keeps on giving.
‘Washed Up’ has a Siouxie-ish vibe with skirling rain drenched John McGeoch guitars whilst ‘The Gin One’ is a wonderful black-clad hymn with shards of fantastic post punk guitars cutting in abruptly. The fact that these two songs come towards the end of the album exemplify that it’s a work to be listened to a whole and that the quality never lets up.
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