Nadine Shah
Filthy Underneath

(EMI North)



“The band left hours ago, according to the work experience kid that I’m currently telling all my deepest darkest secrets to in a toilet cubicle.” So goes one of Filthy Underneath’s most powerful moments, anchored by the simple need for human connection.

The fifth studio album from Nadine Shah continues to demonstrate her strength as an unaffected voice of her generation. Much like the toilet cubicle scene, Shah doesn’t shy away from confronting challenging experiences that have shaped her worldview and not feel the need to present these personal stories in pretty surroundings. As she relives the period of returning to her South Tyneside hometown to care for her terminally ill mother and the struggles she faced in her relationship, she reinstates her emotional strength with great impact.

Across Filthy Underneath, in both her distinct cadence and proclivity to be both vulnerable and forthright, she embodies a similar strand of empowerment as Tina Turner and Marianne Faithfull. The latter, in particular, resonates in songs like ‘Keeping Score’ and ‘Sad Lads Anonymous’. Musically, Shah seamlessly incorporates tonal aspects of the Iranian pop and Indian disco she found comfort in during this time with a rich palette of slick bass grooves, striking synths and a bustle of drums which effectively draw you into these deft compositions. Throughout, her magnetism is irresistible.

Informed by a dark and difficult period in Shah’s life and the all-encompassing doom rippling through modernity,  you cannot be anything but thankful for her beautifully unfiltered earnestness on Filthy Underneath.