Nadine Shah – Filthy Underneath

On her fifth studio album, Nadine Shah presents a collection of breathless forward momentum that never loses its balance

Album Review by Rhys Morgan | 19 Feb 2024
  • Nadine Shah – Filthy Underneath
Album title: Filthy Underneath
Artist: Nadine Shah
Label: EMI North
Release date: 23 Feb

Filthy Underneath, Nadine Shah’s fifth studio album, is one of movement, a feat undeniable if all you’ve heard is the chorus of lead single Topless Mother; an initially caged and pacing beast, eventually loosed, accompanied by buzzing guitars and brass in a cacophony of wall-of-sound harmony.

It's in many of these choruses that Shah’s melodic mastery is made forcefully evident: Food for Fuel balances a lithe hook alongside another which is audibly in adherence to the harmonic principles of Sufi Qawwali music, resounding and devotional. Greatest Dancer, too, plays in melodic juxtaposition. A textural marvel, the track boasts brassy and buzzy synths (and even an acidic, almost malignant bassline in places), hand-in-hand with a glistening chorus whose vocal melody would beget envy from those involved in Jessie Ware’s recent fare.

Lyricism isn’t left behind. Sad Lads Anonymous drips disdain, an off-piste sibling to the spoken verses of Parklife or I Do This All the Time. Shah’s wit errs on earnestness in lyrical moments comparing the rich attaining priceless art to children collecting Pokémon cards, or in the lovely wordplay of ‘You keep it / UKIP it’.

While more austere than its predecessor, there's a plethora of brilliance to be found on Filthy Underneath, with Shah determined to confront and bulldoze through the pain.

Listen to: Greatest Dancer, Food For Fuel, French Exit, Topless Mother