Alternative chauntress’ second album is anything but disposable!
Nadine Shah has come a long way in a short time. Her 2013 debut album, Love Your Mum and Dad, came out of leftfield, and was an instant classic. It contained 11 songs of heartache, death, redemption and ultimately love. You know, like a good Mike Leigh film.
Now she is back with new album Fast Food. Love and heartache are still the main themes, but the songs have a richer, almost cinematic quality about them. Shah said recently “My favourite love stories are the unconventional ones. The ones that aren’t like rom-coms because those aren’t the real stories, that’s not how it actually happens. For years I had this romanticised ideal of what love would be. I thought it would be perfect and that I would always be someone’s first love but as you get older, people have been in love before. That’s a large part of what Fast Food is about, the sudden realisation that you’re never going to be anybody’s first love ever again.” That basically sums up the album.
Open track Fast Food has a stomping beat, when coupled with the lyrical content, it keeps you captivated until the end. In Fool Shah sings “And I guessed your favourites one by one, And all to your surprise, From damned Nick Cave to Kerouac, They stood there side by side” then “You, my sweet, are a fool, You, my sweet, are plain and weak, Go let the other girls, Indulge the crap that you excrete” It’s a song about knowing exactly what someone is like and what they’re going to do before it happens. Divided is where the album goes up a notch. Shah shows off not only her skill as a lyricists, but her voice too. Her soulful voice soars above droney bass and abrasive guitars. Nothing Else to Do is has a simple lyric “And there was nothing else to do, but fall in love”. This repeats again and again like a mantra, as the slightly wonky music box melody builds and builds until it’s faltering outro. Stealing Car is a full blown indie pop gem. Possibly one of the best singles of the year so far. It’s shows Shah can do pop as well as brooding ballads.
Shah, and producer Ben Hillier, have created 10 songs that fulfil the promise of Love Your Mum and Dad, but add a stronger musical backbone to Shah’s autobiographical stories. If you ever doubted Shah’s talent, this is the album that proves it. There is a stark authenticity running through the album that makes it hard to not only turn off, but shake off after it’s finished.