Friday, August 4, 2017

Nadine Shah : "Holiday Destination"

It's not until we get to the title track that we get to the kind of soulful yet dark grooves that propelled her last album. It opens with something that is quirky, but doesn't feel like it has the emotional depth I expect from her. So it is good to hear that she knows how to get back to that place. It feels more like indie rock than post punk this time around. Her voice sounds great on "2016". She is up on the mic and forward in the mix. I don't have to have the post-punk tension if she is singing like this in her sensuous alto. They song throws some punches and has coats of atmosphere splattered about. You could compare her to what a band like the Yeah Yeah Yeah's does or even PJ Harvey, when the album shuffles it's way into "Out of the Way" . A harder synth bass line casts a shadow over the song. Midway into this song and I am still impressed how good this album sounds. Every thing is crisp and sits right where it needs to even when they start to bring in weird instruments like saxophones.

She treads similar ground to the Cure with the drone of "Yes Men" which balances melody with the hypnotic web it weaves. Lyrically she is pissed about the tone of politics. Perhaps this is what keeps this album from having the same emotional tangibility as the previous album. The shuffle to "Evil" has an almost 60's pop shuffle. "Ordinary" falls somewhere between feeling like 80's post-punk and and indie rock with poppy aspirations. "Relief" has a more tense and angular riff to it that is soothed out by the vocals. The Cure like sound returns on "Mother Father". This song is immaculate arranged and written and leaves her plenty of room for her voice to move around.

The album closes with the more atmospheric pulse of "Jolly Sailer" A lo-fi beat and a low throbbing bass pulse help to drive the song. I'll give this album a 9. I would not say there are problems that need to be addressed, this just might be the direction she is going in hear. It is not as dark, though lyrically it has a more angst ridden undercurrent.

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