NBHAP Rating: 4,3/5
Label: Apollo Records
01. Fast Food
05. Nothing Else To Do
06. Stealing Cars
07. Washed Up
08. The Gin One
09. Big Hands
You don’t happen to get surprised by a lot of support bands these days. It’s a tough job anyway; especially when you happen to open for almighty synthpop legends DEPECHE MODE. Those fans can be quite picky and usually no artist is good enough for them to warm up their personal Black Celebration. British singer/songwriter NADINE SHAH took the chance in late 2013. Since DEPECHE MODE producer Ben Hillier also took care of her debut Love Your Dum and Mad the choice might have been obvious. She was far from warming up the arena back then but she spread a desperate dark magic which really explains her choice in terms of the mood. She really had her own Black Celebration and her brand new second album Fast Food underlines that ambition and delivers a confident and powerful piece of sinister songwriter rock, somewhere between NICK CAVE, INTERPOL and PJ HARVEY.
Searching for the light
According to the press release SHAH‘s second longplayer is a ‘coming of age album,’ one that breaks with naive perspective on life and love and an acceptance of the status quo of things. And this reality, as all intelligent people out there, should know is not one you paint with shiny colours and pure optimism. It’s often quite bleak and you have to look in the twilight to find the not-so obvious truths of life. Fast Food is the album to accompany that journey and the British lady is the perfect guide to take us through the wilderness. The title-track starts the album with a tumbling beat before the powerful Fool celebrates the swan song of a former lover with urgent New Wave guitars and playfulness. And over all her sensual voice that manages to bring so many aspects to her songs. From the honest tenderness in Divided to the callousness of Washed Up. NADINE SHAH plays all roles in her own play, from the desperate and bitter lover to the confident vamp that caresses the listener with her siren-like voice.
The oppressive joy of desperation
Once again, the songwriter teamed up with Ben Hillier who helped to sharp her sound even more precisely. It’s a bitter pill she offers us to swallow. The general mood is a mixture of melancholia and discomfort. There’s an urgency that dominates the record, driven by her vocal work and guitar. A few elements break the cycle like the playful piano in Big Hands or the smooth brass section in Nothing Else To Do that eases the listener. Darkness and desperation dominate Fast Food and it’s an oppressive joy that captivates the listener from the very first moment. NADINE SHAH never seems pretentious or dishonest. Especially Living, the final track of the record and an ode to the life in London in 2015 is a perfect example. You can feel life’s pressure all over the place, the fear modern society raises in us and the difficulty of finding a proper way to face these challenges. NADINE SHAH is lost and Fast Food is the soundtrack of finding a way and it’s a really wonderful piece of bittersweet guitar pop that celebrates the less brighter aspects of life in all their disgusting glory. Reach out and touch faith.
NADINE SHAH’s second LP ‘Fast Food’ is a bittersweet celebration of life’s dark and desperate aspects, but one that strangely fills you with joy.