wed 22/03/2023

Album: Nadine Shah – Kitchen Sink | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Nadine Shah – Kitchen Sink

Album: Nadine Shah – Kitchen Sink

A fresh look at women's woes from one who knows

Dinner party sexism displayed

Why don’t you have children? Why aren’t you married? Why don’t you own your own home? Why are you a failure? These are the societally enforced questions that, as a 34-year-old woman, Nadine Shah finds inescapable. Much like the rest of us. When talking to friends who also considered themselves “non-achievers”, she realised something was very wrong.

And that nothing much has changed in what used to be termed “the battle of the sexes” (hence the Abigail’s Party style artwork). Having covered the refugee crisis, suicide and the state of the nation, now sexual inequality comes under her ever-insightful eye.

As ever, her work is political. And pretty livid. From the cracking opening – howling, cat-calling, basically bristling with anger, “Club Cougar” gives a flavour of what is to come. The single Ladies for Babies (Goats for Love) demonstrates what she thinks of many men, while the powerfully pared back title track spiked with gutsy guitar hints at the Tynesider’s struggles with racism (“all they see is a strange face whose heritage they can’t trace”). Her distinctive song construction continues throughout as do the punch-in-the-guts lyrics (“shave my legs, freeze my eggs” Trad; “running gauntlets, swerving perverts” Walk).

I’d like to sink a few sherries with Nadine Shah. Hear her interviewed and you’ll know what I mean – she sounds a riot. There are certainly moments of humour throughout this 11-song album, her first since being cruelly robbed of the Mercury Prize in 2018. But her music is stark and dark and so the funny lines are – as another journalist has already said – very “Fleabag” in nature. She’s giving you the knowing look, because she knows you know. And she answers the above questions with what all ladies of a certain age would like to say: take your double standards and shove them where the sun certainly doesn’t shine.



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