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Shame - Songs of Praise

Published on 5th February 2018

My first introduction to Shame came as a live performance when they opened for Slaves in 2016. They had all the hallmarks of a promising young band; bags of confidence, a fistful of attention-grabbing songs and a frontman who wasn’t afraid to jump into the pit stripped to the waist. With this in mind, I felt optimistic venturing into their debut album, Songs of Praise, hoping to find that same energy but refined. Dust on Trial, the first of ten songs on the album, opens with Charlie Steen’s Nick Cave-esque growls before escalating into a shouted crescendo, quelling any fears I held that the band would lose their bravado in MP3 format. However, too many of the following nine songs follow a similar structure, making an already short album feel even shorter as one track becomes indistinguishable from the next – there are only so many feverishly chanted choruses of stilted lyrics you can take after a while. Gratingly contrived choruses aside, the instrumentation on the album is solid, particularly shining on tracks such as Concrete and Lampoon with tight, almost disco style drumming and prominent basslines reminiscent of Shame’s post punk contemporaries, Holograms and Preoccupations. With the infectiously chaotic instrumentals upstaging the overwrought lyrics, the album ultimately makes for frustrating listening. A shame, frankly.

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