June 23, 2020 Nadine Shah – Kitchen Sink (Album Review)
English born musician Nadine Shah, among other things, is a storyteller. It is something that you can trace back to her 2013 debut LP Love Your Dum and Mad, where the writing was inspired by the tragic loss of two close friends. Following up in impressive fashion with 2015’s impressive Fast Food and 2017’s Holiday Destination, now in 2020, Shah returns with Kitchen Sink on Friday, June 26th via BMG.
Her fourth overall studio album, Shah teams up once more with Producer Ben Hillier (Doves, Depeche Mode). A long time collaborator of Shah’s, Hillier, apart from producing, also co-wrote and plays many of the instruments that can be heard on Kitchen Sink. That in mind, Shah and Hillier create something extremely special over the course of 11 new songs.
Kicking off with a percussion and bass duet on “Club Cougar,” it is entangled with brass instruments before Shah’s very frank, vibrato heavy voice joins the fray. The album’s most recent single, it is a very fun, upbeat start, which is followed by the lead single “Ladies For Babies Ghosts For Love,” an equally groovy and drum heavy track. Shah sings of what it means to be a woman in modern society; a theme that’s heavily interwoven in the album.
Moving along, “Buckfast,” manages to give you somewhat of a breather from the first two tracks. Yes, it keeps itself in the groove, but at a slower pace. This is while “Dillydally” and “Trad” pick the pace right back up after. Giving the album balance, “Trad” shows off the versatility of Shah’s vocals by going from vibrato heavy to what can only be described as hauntingly beautiful. Keep that in mind, because it will come up again throughout the album. Which leads us to the album’s title track and second single “Kitchen Sink,” which brings the pace back down a bit and gives you a taste of a what it is like for someone exploring a new area or environment, but also struggling with the idea of being an outsider.
Bringing the tempo really down, “Kite” is almost entirely instrumental, giving off a spooky vibe that is led with a single guitar note and small snare hits; magnificently emulating the sound of a running clock. This is while “Wasps Nest” and “Walk” offer up new material not really heard on the album to this point. First up, “Wasps Nest,” the shortest track of the album has a smooth, slow-moving, Latin Jazz sound as Shah’s voice enhances the overall vibe. Then, “Walk” gives you a glimpse into Shah’s Pakistani background with a percussion musical style typical to that side of the world. Lastly, “Prayer Mat” concludes the journey in surprising fashion with a deliberately mellow chilling track.
All in all, Kitchen Sink is incredible. It is the type of album that will truly surprise you because there are so many twists and turns along the way making for a refreshing listen. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Kitchen Sink 5 out of 5 stars.