Bracing Post-Punk Band From London
South London’s brash post-punk outfit Shame follow in the footsteps of unflinching musicians and writers such as The Fall, Television Personalities, and Irvine Welsh. On their bracing 2018 debut album, ‘Songs of Praise’,which they recorded when they were barely in their twenties — and 2021’s frenetic ‘Drunk Tank Pink’, they bridged the personal and political with wit and fury.
Vocalist Charlie Steen, guitarists Sean Coyle-Smith and Eddie Green, bassist Josh Finerty, and drummer Charlie Forbes met in school and formed Shame in 2014 while still in their teens. A family connection led the quintet to practice at the Queen’s Head, a gritty Brixton pub that was also home to Fat White Family. Gigs with that band, the Garden, and Slaves led to an appearance at 2016’s Pitchfork Music Festival Paris. Later that year, Shame tapped Dan Foat and Nathan Boddy to record their debut single, ‘The Lick/Gold Hole’, which Fnord Communications released later that year. After signing with Dead Oceans, the group reunited with Foat and Boddy on their next single, March 2017’s ‘Tasteless’. Two more singles, ‘Concrete’ and ‘Visa Vulture’, a commentary on Prime Minister Theresa May’s stance on immigration, appeared before the release of Shame’s debut album.
Recorded with Foat and Boddy in ten days, Songs of Praise arrived on Dead Oceans in January 2018. The record’s snarling update of post-punk met with critical acclaim and peaked at number 32 on the U.K. Albums Chart. When the band finished touring in support of Songs of Praise, they began work on their next album, with Coyle-Smith taking inspiration from Talking Heads, ESG, and Nigerian highlife music and Steen using the ups and downs of life after their success as fodder for his lyrics. Recorded with producer James Ford, Drunk Tank Pink — named after the color used to calm aggressively inebriated prisoners arrived in January 2021 and offered a louder and more ambitious version of Shame’s music.