EP review: Nadine Shah – Dreary Town

Nadine Shah - Dreary Town

Nadine Shah - Dreary Town - Credit: Archant

The second release from this intensely evocative performer comes on like an operatic Anna Calvi just graduated from the School of Doom.

Following last year’s critically-lauded Aching Bones EP, this sophomore EP offers three tracks of distinctly haunting atmospherics from one of the standout voices of 2013.

A foreboding piano riff introduces the glowering, almost funereal Dreary Town, a song of rare and stately beauty, anguish and desolation.

Telling the tale of being “down and out in London, sharing beds and sharing money”, Shah illuminates a dark, almost filmic farewell ode to the city with haunting, smoky tones and impressive depth of scale. Toasting “a short-lived love” she disappears into the night leaving you wanting more.

Bobby Heron follows, a song written about the only son of Shah’s great-grandmother, who died at sea. Built on clipped acoustic guitar strums, muted accordion and shiver-inducing, anchor-chain tambourine, the former jazz singer’s hollers and vivid storytelling top an intoxicating song.

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Finishing with a wonderfully sinister take on Cry Me A River, this EP marks out Shah as a significant new talent.

4 stars

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