There’s a very sensual feeling of unease with Nadine Shah’s new album „Fast Food“, the kind that feels endearing despite that voice in your head that you shouldn’t venture out too far. From the dark vocals to the deliberately subtle yet heavy-weight compositions, the whole album feels like a Kubrick-movie – you know about all the details that went into the making, all the unseen cutlery in the kitchen, the functioning machines that are turned off in the background, the unspoken backstory (and the stressed out close to a breakdown actors) but you don’t feel them as oppressive because there’s just the feeling that they add another layer to the art.
The British singer with Pakistani and Norwegian roots apparently gets compared to Nick Cave and PJ Harvey a lot, the latter probably because of that full and dark voice but both comparisons only go so far because with Shah you have a certain live aspect in her music, that one diva in the foreground of a bar in a Lynch-movie (I am thinking here of the scene in „Mulholland Drive“, that singing lady on the stage, the reveal of the tape recorder and this intense sadness and beauty of it all). You listen to the digitalized record but it feels as if you’re there in the studio, half lit, somewhere in a corner, trying not to breathe too loud.
And because Shah was careful to add traces of her cultural identity as Pakistani in her music, this smooth, dangerously sensual and strong scent is as haunting as it is. You would have to look quite hard to find anything like it right now.
Sorry, there’s no recent official music videos of Shah. But here’s that “Mulholland Drive”-scene I was writing about, to get a little creeped out (and feel moved to tears)