nadineshah

The critical reverence that has followed Nadine Shah in her career so far, feels like the token shoe-in of an Oscar going to the actor that played the ‘challenging’ part. Just because someone writes dramatic songs and can play piano AND SING at the same time doesn’t mean it’s any good.

Evoking names like Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Nina Simone and Philip Larkin in reference to her work, feels nothing short of sacrilegious – at its best this is a post Anna Calvi wail-fest of epic proportions. The underlying narrative evokes a brooding, Weimar-esque urbanity, but lyrically it’s a shallow puddle, named – perhaps unwisely – ‘Dreary Town’.

On the plus side the closing tracks ‘Filthy Game’ and ‘Winter Reigns’ are more nuanced and restrained, something colloquial and interesting sneaking out through the timbre of her vocal and the focus of her playing. Tantalising – but largely unlistenable.

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