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Shame – Drunk Tank Pink

shame drunk tank pink artwork
shame band press shot 2020

It’s finally here. 3 years since the release of their critically acclaimed debut album, Songs Of Praise, Shame have returned to give us their second offering, Drunk Tank Pink.

Drunk Tank Pink sees the band with their hearts on their sleeves, brutally honest, seeing the band lay their insecurities on the table, yet distinctively Shame.

Lead single, Alphabet, opens the album, a boisterous, exhilarating number which sees the band offer fans a little bit of what they love, with some added progression. Alphabet is a direct question to the audience, asking if any of ‘this’ will ever be worth it. The track is a stunning opener, setting the tone for what is to come.

Born in Luton sees Shame build on the jerky, nervous guitars which feature in the tracks that precede it. Riotous instrumentation paves the way for a slowed, change of pace mid-song, allowing lead singer Charlie Steen’s vocals to come to the spotlight. “I’ve been waiting outside for all of my life,’ he sings ‘and now I’ve got to the door, there’s no-one inside’, it’s here where you really get to relate to Shame, Born in Luton allows listeners to join the band in their thoughts.

Snow Day allows Shame to take their sound to another level, potentially their most ambitious track to date. It tells the story of Steen’s self-inflicted nightmares, with the band shifting to create thunderous instrumentation whilst Steen takes us further into his hallucinations. This proves that Shame have a renewed confidence with Drunk Tank Pink, one they have built from Songs Of Praise.

A clear standout on Drunk Tank Pink is Human, For A Minute, a slowed track which enables listeners to see an emotional side of Shame. It’s lyrics are poignant and honest, ‘I’m half the man I should be’, and ‘Why don’t you stay, just for today’ highlighting the disconnection that came to be as the band’s non-stop touring abruptly came to a halt. It’s with Human, For A Minute where you see Shame’s maturity, and it’s where they truly exceed expectations.

You’re then thrown into the raucousness of Great Dog, a 2 minute blast of energy that the band have become synonymous for. The track builds into chaos before Steen stops it dead in it’s tracks before firing it up again.

Harsh Degrees is a savage punk equivalent of a love song, an unapologetic frenzy of pure noise. It shows Shame at their most confident, a band gradually becoming themselves. Fans are destined to fall in love with Harsh Degrees instantly, at just over 3 minutes long it’s driven by adrenaline, with a reverbed outro which perfectly rounds the track off.

The final track on the album, Station Wagon, it also its longest. It begins with a classic Shame one-liner, ‘I need a new resolution and it’s not even the end of the year’, Steen states. Station Wagon is a moment of reflection for the listener, its mid-point holds a gorgeous keyboard section with Steen telling us to look up to the clouds and ‘all will become a distant memory’. The track closes Drunk Tank Pink with a positive outlook, launching an optimistic message with it’s closing line ‘there’s a new station wagon hitting the road’.

With Drunk Tank Pink, Shame have channeled their frustrations and used unhealthy energies to create a new album which will excite and surprise fans in equal measure. It’s an album that gives us an interesting glimpse into the bands realities, opening a window to a new dimension.

The band have recently announced a run of socially-distanced live shows as well as a headline UK tour for November. Tickets are available here.

Rating

Composition
Lasting Appeal
Lyrics
Production

Excellent

Katie Macbeth

Katie Macbeth is a freelance music journalist for Indie Is Not A Genre based out of Manchester, presenter of @drunktankthink, and post punk enthusiast.

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