Having released two critically acclaimed EPs, Nadine Shah debuts her highly anticipated album Love Your Dum and Mad on July 22. Recorded and produced by the extraordinary Ben Hillier (Blur, Depeche Mode, The Horrors) Shah’s eponymous release marks her as one of the most exciting talents of 2013.
Of Norwegian and Pakistani ancestry, yet hailing from the North East, the young London based artist delivers a beautifully formed artistic statement. Rather fittingly, most of the songs were recorded in her father’s Curtain Superstore in Blaydon, Tyne & Wear; the dark, hued material, packed with emotional depth.
Opening track, Aching Bones is a delightful introduction to the former jazz singer; with its clanging rhythm, tinkering keys and rolling rich vocals. A unique, eerie and somewhat menacing tone permeates from the offset.
Unique soundscapes are explored throughout To Be A Young Man, with her haunting words alongside acoustic guitar hooks and persistent thuds. An ode to borrowed nostalgia, Shah croons ‘Oh, to be a young man again’, with her noticeable Geordie intonations, before a sonically intriguing instrumental ending.
Seamlessly opening into Runway, Shah dips into a brave take on adultery. Lyrically, her tales of love and loss take something from personal experiences, often writing from a mother’s perspective, however, not wanting her to sound defeated, instead she says ‘run away to your whore, I’ve the right to half this house I’m fine’.
Cultural influences are especially prevalent in the likes of The Devil, before the album takes a rather melancholic approach, beginning with Floating. A largely instrumental offering; the experimental, electronic oddities merge delightfully with Shahs deeply dark tales and quivering vocals.
The sultry songstress further showcases her sublime vocal ability through the romantic sentiment of lyrics, “Darling, I’ll hold your cigarette, whilst you tie your shoes” in the simplistic yet shimmering, All I Want. Charming successor Used It All continues to blend her rich and husky tones with ominous piano, depicting a weary character, a somewhat mirror image to the first half of the album.
Piano led tracks Dreary Town and Remember showcase her foreboding, anguished vocals impeccably, with her dramatic compositions enhanced by the workings of Ben Hillier. Whilst the sonically immersive, Filthy Game is a philosophical observation of a stranger in a town, based on a short story by Italo Calvini (‘Mr Palomar’).
Her ever chilling, smoky voice carries over haunting piano before beautiful closing track, Winter Reigns. The delicately sparse opening explores aptly seasonal themes before the introduction of dark riffs that see a sense of acceptance, “Every boy and girl in this place you trust/ we accept you one of us”.
‘Love Your Dum and Mad’, is a delectable debut offering from the Northern lass; laced with gloomy piano and in contrast, the stark clang of chugging riffs and twisted industrial sounds. Shah’s redemptive tales resonate from within and are sure to leave a lasting impression.