Text: Paul van der Zalm

Yes, we can finally take the pressure off! The four friends of Shaemless (Tom Brouwers on guitar, drummer Cyril Rommens and frontman Daan Sturm have known each other since primary school, bassist Pepijn Rondo Guasque joined later) could not have chosen a better moment than now to finally release their long-awaited debut album ‘SUUZ’, which was already announced in May last year.

The fact that it took so long is quite astonishing, because since 2012, the gentlemen showed us their potential with EPs I, II, III and IIII. But for an album release, of course, a number of things are essential: 1. enough good songs to fill the album, 2. funding and 3. finding a good moment for the release.

To achieve the first point, the band used the lockdown in 2020 to get down to serious work, in the basement of their favourite Nijmegen pub and in their own Twinsound Studios. The single ‘Appreciate’ was a testament to that, as the uncertainty and powerlessness of that period form the basis of this song. It is a fast, brutal and musically interesting song with a delay at the end. It was therefore no surprise that we presented this song as a ‘highlight’ in April 2021, just like ‘(I don’t need a) Weakness’ in August.  The advice we gave then still applies: “stand up, close your eyes, jump around and scream the lyrics”. In terms of sound, this song evokes associations with the rougher work of the Doors and we hear that a bit in the long-drawn-out (and ending with an a capella chorus) ‘Fingerlicking’, one of the highlights of the album. But even more than that, we hear in this waltz(!) the Weltschmerz of the former Nick Cave or more recently The Murder Capital. This last band is a good reference for the whole album, although Shaemless sounds a bit spicier than for instance a band like Idles or…. Shame (no family).

Opening track ‘White Statues’ is an energetic entry, with screaming vocals and an abrupt ending; remarkable is the synth sound in the beginning of the song. ‘London’ is also a strong track where the acceleration is high and which seems to derail pleasantly. That Shaemless is a real guitar band is shown to full advantage in ‘End of Conversation’ where the vocals resemble those of Iggy Pop in his wild years. And with ‘Build Up The Shame’, built around an angular riff, the quartet shows convincingly that they do not have to be ashamed for any British or Irish post-punk band. This also applies to the recording quality of the album: it sounds as if the band is live in your living room. Credits for Matthijs Kievitt (production) and Alex Geurink (mastering).

Just like the band members themselves, we cannot wait to see them on stage again and to mosh with them; so the moment of release is well chosen. Remains the financing: this is partly achieved by crowdfunding and of course you can also contribute by buying the self-released album…

One more warning: don’t take WDR – 5 (track 7) as a reference. This is a playful, ambient intermezzo including a violin part and German samples that seems to be inspired by the geographical origin of the band.

AE-E Records (own management)

Photo credit: Ivana van der Zant