Nadine Shah – Filthy Underneath

A bold, emotional record that could well be her best yet...

Nadine Shah has been through it. One listen to ‘Filthy Underneath’ tells you almost everything you need to know about grief, collapse, and renewal. It’s a testimony to resilience, an ode to continuation, and one that never succumbs to victimhood. Just listen to lead single ‘Topless Mother’ – taut, visceral, rippling with venom, it carries an astonishing, all-too-palpable sense of intensity.

‘Keeping Score’ comes straight from the heart, while the pummelling drums of ‘Greatest Dancer’ match tribal fury while being almost comically over-the-top. Indeed, the lyrics take the song in another direction – it’s about watching Strictly with her late mother, fully immersing herself in the poignancy of the memory. Produced by long-time collaborator Ben Hillier, ‘Filthy Underneath’ is a record strewn with wild, vivid sonic detail. The rugged, ragged ‘Twenty Things’ sits against the bolshy ‘Sad Lads Anonymous’, a record whose sonic breadth is matched to the assured nature of its construction.

Songs of loss and confusion, ‘Filthy Underneath’ is also marked by a certain kind of certainty. It’s as though amid all this pain, all this negativity, Nadine Shah has found herself once more. Closing with ‘French Exit’, it’s an unforgettable experience, and a career high.

9/10

Words: Robin Murray

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