Friday, July 31, 2020

"I really wanted to take back power in a celebratory way"

Competition for the title of the greatest living Geordie is stiff, but Nadine Shah is most certainly a contender. Not only has she released another knockout album in the shape of Kitchen Sink, but she also makes for a great interviewee, both forthright and funny.

In a recent chat with Jude Rogers for the Guardian, she talked about the pleasure of interrogating music journalists, having 8,000 copies of your new record delivered to your flat in error, how its cover art was inspired by Abigail's Party, and making an album that discusses subjects that some people (particularly men) might find discomforting: "If anyone takes offence to anything on Kitchen Sink, they're the one with the problem, not me."

Sonically, Kitchen Sink is slinky and seductive - but lyrically, it has real claws (and wit). While 2018's Holiday Destination was a more obviously big-picture political album, its follow-up finds Shah offering more intimate and personal reflections on the everyday tribulations of women the world over and defiantly resisting social expectations.

It would certainly have merited the Mercury nomination that Holiday Destination got, but none was forthcoming - which prompted the self-confessed Mercury obsessive to sound off on Twitter, only for her tweets to be deleted without her consent. It wasn't a bitter moan/rant about being snubbed personally, though, and she admitted that the judging process is fair - her point was that the prize should recognise and support commercial underdogs and emerging talent rather than give a credibility boost to bigger outfits no longer in need of the leg up.

In Shah's world (and mine), Richard Dawson would have got a nomination for 2020, and I'd also have liked to see Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs' Viscerals - an album that's probably been my most played through lockdown - get the nod of approval. But there is at least some North-East representation on the list, with Lanterns On The Lake's understatedly epic Spook The Herd in with an outside chance. Fingers crossed.

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