In 2013, UK singer-songwriter Nadine Shah quietly released her debut album, Love Your Dum and Mad, which was an intelligently-conceived, thoughtful album that roared and challenged like P.J. Harvey’s best albums. Every note, every lyric was nuanced, and the album was critically acclaimed (it just missed out on our favourite albums of that year).

On her sophomore album, Fast Food, Shah once again adopts a purposeful approach. Nothing is rushed nor processed, and no song feels hurried or repackaged. The album at times is stripped back and even minimalistic at points, filled with dense and deep arrangements and lyrics. This is best represented by the terrific “Matador”, a brooding beauty that uses the imagery of a matador and his red cape to illustrate the illusion of feeling wanted. “Divided”, likewise, is mellow track about two people going in different directions.

Shah also demonstrates an ability to create a moving sounds without sending one into catharsis. The title track is a mid-tempo, brooding rocker that uses fast food as an allegory of a difficult and “unappetizing” experience. “Fool” is a trippy, melodic rocker that speaks to infidelity and dishonesty. “The Gin One” is a quietly lush song (and the lushest on the album by far) that could be about the effects of infatuation, as Shah sings about “wondering around all day”. “Stealing Cars” is a show stopper. Echoing of the brooding indie rock of Boxer-era The National, the song has the same feeling when we anxiously away something to happen, a hesitant excitement.

Fast Food is a thoughtful, poignant album. For those discovering Nadine Shah for the first time, it’s a great introduction to the UK singer-songwriter, and it’ll leave you hungry for more.

Fast Food is out on Apollo / R&S Records. Get it at the label’s store, Rough Trade, iTunes (UK/US/CAN), and Amazon (UK/US/CAN).

Website –
Facebook – Nadine Shah
Twitter – @nadineshah

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