Text: Susanne van Hooft
Translation : Bente van der Zalm

There are a few bands that have a special place in our CHAOS heart, and shame is one of them. Eagerly we looked forward to the release of the new album Drunk Tank Pink, but that makes it tensive at the same time. What if it doesn’t reach our expectations? Of course we would write about it honestly. We had heard a few of the songs live earlier and it sounded like something we had to get used to. The question then is: do you want more from what you know you like, or can it also be different? Well, preferably it would be a bit of both; more of shame, but we would be disappointed if it turned out to be a Songs of Praise 2.0. Fans can take a sigh of relief. Shame has released a pièce de résistance. It’s still recognisable as shame, but wow: they have grown. That this album sounds so much more grown up, has probably got something to do with James Ford being the producer. 

Shame gets straight to the point with ‘alphabet’. Here shame still sounds like how we know them from their debut album Songs of Praise, that just had its third birthday last week. Aggressive and screeching guitars, that frivolous dance around each other so that it seams like the band is on the loose. You only have to close your eyes to see the band play the song in a crowded room. “What you see is what you get” sings Steen. Yes, we know this from them. And then, like you fall from your bed, the song collapses like a house of cards. Hop, we hear a completely different song and slowly the new shame awakens. Because it’s for sure that the band made a metamorphosis, or a growth. It sounds fresh, tight and at the same time more playful, thanks to the layers and a more variety in the instruments used; piano and percussion join frequently. Next to that seems the band seems to let themselves go more and they don’t seem embarrassed to launch out?.

Where ‘Nigel Hitter’ sounds a bit lighter (It reminds us of Life, with the “It just goes on, It just goes, Pop pop pop”), shame is a lot more threatening in ‘Born in Luton’ and ‘Water in the Well’. The latter is a well chosen single. It starts off calmly thriving, but emerges into a pretty insane chaotic sounding frenzy, completed by passionate choirs in the background. Still it doesn’t really get off the track anywhere. The band knows how to hold back at the right times. ‘Snowday’ again sounds more familiar, a bit like ‘The Lick’ from the previous album, but at the same time ominous with a lot of care for the musical parts.

So, even though shame has definitely evolved and grown up, you can still hear the naughty and fun-laughing child back in the songs. We only just made up our minds on the best albums of 2020, but we already want to tell you to keep Drunk Tank Pink in mind for your lists at the end of this year.

Secretly Group

Photo credit: Bente van der Zalm