20 April 2018

Shame - Songs of Praise

The first I've heard of Shame was late last year, probably around October.  I got a message telling me to listen to Shame, comparing them to what an emo band would sound like if they had been brought up on Fugazi and Compulsion.  To coin a phrase, I was coloured intrigued at that point.  A short backstory - Songs of Praise is the debut album of South London Shame.  They have been courted by the press over the last few months, which reached fever pitch in January when Songs of Praise was released.  They have sold out venues up and down the country, they've toured America gaining fans on the other side of the pond and will be heading out for another headline tour of the UK later in the year.  All things at this point seem to be coming up with roses, but is the praise deserved?

Shame can best be described as a quintessential English Indie band, that have some Americanisms in their style.  You can hear so many other bands in their sound, but with a huge amount of their own style.  You can hear the work of Fugazi, Pavement, Henry Rollins and other American artists (either directly or indirectly), as well as a sound akin to bands like Compulsion, Placebo and the hard biting words of people like Frank Carter and other angry people with lots to say.  This is an angry album for an angry time, there are seeds of discontent within these songs and it’s not an album that you can relax with ease.

Starting with “Dust on the Trail”, the band sound almost gothic in places with that harrowing sound to their guitars, this theme is revisited on “The Lick”, a dark and sinister rant against the world.  Even the ending of this album is a moody number, “Angie” is a number that has a comedown feeling to it, making you wonder if anything is ever going to go right for anyone. However, for the most part, this is an energetic and vibrant album.  Songs like the majestic “Concrete”, the riff-smasher “Donk” and the epic “Gold Hole” are all world beaters.  It’s a true surprise to hear an album so composed being displayed by a band that is so young and not very far into their journey/career.

Songs of Praise is a brilliant debut album, a fantastic record that will have other bands wondering why they didn’t think of these songs before.  It’s an album by a band who are hungry for success, who have a fire in their belly and that is never something that can be reproduced artificially.  So, why have I given it an eight, why not a higher mark?  Well, to be honest, I originally gave it a nine, but somehow it felt wrong.  This could turn out to be one of my records of the year, but I’ll have to wait and see about that.  Songs of Praise is as good a debut as any band could ever hope for.  If this is their high-water mark, then the band cannot complain to be honest, as this is thirty-nine minutes of aggressive indie/punk rock that hits the spot.

8 out of ten  - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart

Top track – Concrete

You can purchase Songs of Praise on Amazon here.

You can purchase Songs of Praise from the Shame Bandcamp page here.

You can visit the Shame website here.

You can follow the activities of Shame on Facebook here.

You can stream Songs of Praise on Spotify here.

You can stream Songs of Praise on Deezer here.

You can stream Songs of Praise on Tidal here.

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