Nadine Shah - Kitchen Sink
I nearly saw Nadine Shah in 2018, but my father was ill and I was unable to attend. I missed a lot of gigs during that time, but I wasn’t that bothered by missing her. I was only going to have a night out with a couple of mates.
But watching her talk on a documentary about Suede and Coming Up persuaded me to check her out again. She was passionate and funny in the programme and anyone who loves Coming Up cannot be bad.
Plus anyone who has a song called Ladies For Babies (Goats For Love) cannot be bad. And Kitchen Sink is not just “not bad”, it’s bloody good. It’s an intense mix of Talking Heads, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Kate Bush, a dash or two of goth, and lots of thundering drums.
Club Cougar kicks off proceedings, horn driven, like an angry partner to Elbow’s Starlings, it covers a theme that runs through the album – the judgement of others as women get older. “one year younger – call me a cougar”. Ladies For Babies gives a scathing assessment of attention from a vacuous man more interested in himself than love - “He wants his lady to be a lady - to care less, be hairless, all he wants in fairness is a baby”.
Buckfast recounts a toxic relationship and disgust at a partner that needs to go – “Eating food too embarrassing to list, I know why there's an aching in your wrist, now you're Buckfast pissed”.
Trad and Dillydally both consider the pressures on women as they get older – clock-ticking (“Shave my legs, freeze my eggs, will you want me when I am old”) and the judgment of others (“I am aware of the passing of time”).
Shah deals with these pressures but you never get the sense she or her characters are overwhelmed by them. As she sings on the album’s title track “Gossiping boring bunch of bitches, and I just let them pass me by”.
I really wish I had seen her back in 2018 now, and definitely going when she plays live - if only to see if she has Goats with her on stage!