Album review: Shame, “Songs of Praise”

by Jon E. Lynch

Shame, “Songs of Praise”

Available: Friday, Jan. 12, via Dead Oceans as a digital download on various high-quality formats (MP3, FLAC, etc), on cassette, compact disc, and while supplies last, limited-edition sky blue vinyl. Pick up at your favorite local, independent record store, direct from the record label, or from the Shame Bandcamp.

Sadly, it is so few and far between that a debut album lives up to the hype that precedes it. This is the main reason I try to ignore tracks that are released in advance of a full-length album. Against my own better judgment, I previewed tracks from this particular band’s debut. Thankfully – and I mean this – you need not worry for a moment with the South London quintet Shame and their blistering debut “Songs of Praise.” The album was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales, where acts such as Echo & the Bunnymen, Iggy Pop, The Damned, Joe Strummer, Royal Blood, and the Pixies have also cut material. What may set Shame apart is the near 40-minute run-time of the record was done in a mere 10 days. This by no means detracts from the quality and, if anything, adds to the urgency while reinforcing their prowess as a live unit. All the callings of straight-forward post-punk are there: the angular guitars, the rawness of punk but with an approach more nuanced and artful, biting lyrics and witticisms, and a focused yet unkempt energy that can only come with youthful exuberance and angst. This is the first great record of the year that will garner many spins in the months to come.

Recommended for fans of Wire, The Fall, and the Eddy Current Suppression Ring (who they cite as influence) but also acts such as Gang of Four, Iceage, Les Savy Fav, or Institute.

— Jon E. Lynch[email protected]


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