Songs of Praise is the debut LP from Londoner five-piece Shame, who've gained traction in the South London gig scene. Lively and insistent post-punk from an energetic young band who don’t shy away from politics and confrontational lyrics. Available on CD, cassette tape or vinyl (regular black or sky blue). On Dead Oceans.
5/10 Clinton Staff review, 10 January 2018
They can pose with an many pigs as they like on the cover of their debut album but there's not a chance I'm going to follow the hype circus around this lot.
They play a brand of confrontational post-punk with gravelly, growling vocals and guitars set to incendiary yet it's clear half way through opener 'Dust On Trial' that they already lack the killer tunes needed to justify such undoubted enthusiasm. It's just a song of nothing that is not saved by shouting very loudly and aggressively.
'Concrete' is better by way of some delicious John Mcgeoch style guitar patterns yet consists of boys shouting over each other in a similar manner to that recently exemplified on the truly odd appearance King Krule put in on Jools Holland. It might just be gravelly Londoners growling over gritty guitars but at their best Shame have something of the Dub Sex about them. They are angry and on tracks like 'One Rizla' they tack on a reasonably catchy chorus to justify their fury.
On 'The Lick' they try out a kind of dirty low down Nick Cave style churn which is as scary as Gallon Drunk with some pretty interesting lyrics which seem to simply mock the very people who will buy their records. The chorus also hints of something that will become more evident as the album wears on...the horrible spectre of Oasis.
And that's your lot really. 'Tasteless' starts a downward spiral into forgettable uninspired sludge for the rest of the album. Admittedly, the first half has some memorable moments and it seems that it is these buoyant tracks that the band are being judged on. But the second half of the record is utterly awful. Perhaps they aren't ready for a full length record and needed a longer gestation period as only 3 or 4 tracks justify the hype that surrounds them.
In times of bland corporate indie-rock they introduce a much needed anger and edge into things and in these days of everyone-gets-a-prize inclusivity perhaps we are due a good don't-give-a-fuck lad rock band but at their worst they are just Oasis dressed in the Clash's clothes and that's no good to anyone.
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