I have been rather unmotivated recently not really being spurred on to write much other than Brand New and Everything Everything’s albums (the later review is on the way but has taken longer than it should) then I found this stupendous creation (I found it this past weekend and have bought it twice).
The production of this record is the best I have heard all year. It sounds like it was created in a post-apocalyptic studio where all the instruments are radiating, vibrating and sort of off ear twitching frequencies. It could not be any more perfect. It really enhances the music and sad real themes which very much incorporate what a sorry state the world is at the moment (just as Brand New’s Science Fiction and Everything Everything’s A Fever Dream do in their own ways).
The tone of the guitars throughout the record is twisted, fuzzy and spiky often backed by buzzing synths/other electronic sounding keys in 2016, Ordinary or Relief to point out a few instances. Relief also is blessed with amazing saxophone/horns another is The Way Out where they are steady then the way they are used for both endings are inventive. Due to the saxophones application The Way Out has a dystopian jazz feel that climaxes in the most satisfying of ways. A track about the movement of refugees around the globe ‘Where would you have them go, A generation searching for a home’. Reinforcing that Shah is commenting on/critiquing major political and social issues of 2016/17.
Further evidence of this is Yes Men is aimed at the ‘Fascist in the Whitehouse’ (a lyric from 2016) which is an over exaggeration but still there are people who think that the current President is a bit too far leaning to the right on the spectrum. Title track Holiday Destination says that the, ‘Bad guys are winning’ it is all rather pessimistic but not to the point that it is soul sapping of all enjoyment the album really works around the themes chosen.
Shah’s voice is extraordinary based in the lower to mid ranges it echoes across the album bringing yet more power to the lyrics, enhancing the music also. The use of her voice on Relief with the line that follows the muted guitars is one of many ways in which it is deployed to great effect.
Holiday Destination is a poignant album from all angles there is thought in every one of Shah’s words, the artwork is of a building with massive holes in it and a child peering out of one, the music mirroring this also. Nadine Shah has released not only a truly special sonic experience but more importantly a record that highlights the struggles around the globe with a blunt and mature approach.