1965 Records – August 25th 

The tinkering percussion, the tension of those high-pitched guitar strings, the hard and funky bass line … the opening minutes of Nadine Shah’s new album Holiday Destination tell us she has something rather different in store for us. Something unexpected. Something tightly wound, more experimental and, dare we say it, sonically up-tempo.

The subject matter is as macabre as ever though – even more so perhaps. Here, on her third full-length, Shah steps back from the microcosm of her own heartbreak and the romanticism of those early folk tales, and explores the macrocosm of the world’s radicalised, frustrated, empathy-less political climate.

Shah has spoken of the need for political rhetoric to be set against a hopeful sonic backdrop, one that would inspire positivity in the face of adversity and uncertainty. There is certainly evidence of this on the record’s opening and closing numbers, and on title track ‘Holiday Destination’ – where the band’s rich instrumentation lifts Shah’s lyrics about the ongoing refugee crisis above pure despair into pointed barbs of anger and, also, cries of solidarity.

Drawing on her own experiences, Shah also sings about life as a second-generation immigrant and the identity crisis that racist attitudes bought on in ‘Out The Way’. On this track in particular there is also the sense that adversity and uncertainty do, in twists and turns, feedback into the sparser contorted melodies and rhythms present throughout. Even the epic saxophone solo at the end contributes towards a joyous yet repressive atmosphere. So tragically and perfectly fitting for 2017.

Buy: Nadine Shah – Holiday Destination

Live: Islington Assembly Hall on October 19th