Something powerfully carefree yet undeniably immediate exists within Nadine Shah’s fourth album Kitchen Sink. Her previous LP Holiday Destination was a more combative detour through the ugly face of European politics during the refugee crisis – a more pronounced problem that required an overt anger and forcefulness in approach.
However, Kitchen Sink sees a redirection to her critique and intensity as she journeys inquisitively into the essence of womanhood. Shah takes aim at male fantasies of the passive trophy wife, society’s conservative obsession with marriage and the stigma attached to ageing with acerbic intuition.
Also displayed is an illustrious sophistication uncommonly found in releases this year. Shah’s voice is an elusive yet authoritative energy amongst sharp and stripped back instrumentals that bring a near-insurmountable class to proceedings. Be it the dreaminess of ‘Kite’ or the bite of ‘Ladies For Babies’, it’s difficult to not be absorbed by Kitchen Sink‘s delicious presence.
Along with the likes of Angel Olsen and Fiona Apple, 2020 has pushed Nadine Shah to the ever-growing frontline of the female fight. Her battles are more forthright and distinct, with a vast array of targets who she can (and most probably will) unashamedly brush aside with her lethal words. The message of Kitchen Sink is clear: stand in her way and, quite literally, face the music.