Text: Lucas Rebreyend
DISCLAIMER: this review was written with very limited knowledge of Drunk Tank Pink, the band’s second album. So, in my imagination, it was 4 years between the last album I knew of Shame, which was the brilliant Songs of Praise, and the one I’m going to tell you about. Let’s go for it!
So it is with completely new ears that I discover this new work. For the record, their first effort was a superb calling card of English rock, between dark shoegaze and clear pop, oscillating from the synthetic energy of the ’80s to the moist darkness of the ’90s; this kind of album where almost every track seems to be a future single. Afterwards, their second LP surprised me, first intrigued me, then rather baffled me, and I quickly moved on without even trying to understand. Not that the music was bad -far from it-, but I wanted to hear the Shame of 2018, the one that belches out juvenile riffs. As for the band, they had decided to innovate, which is just my luck…
First of all, this cover. A watercolour moonlight, a playful punchinello swimmer, an enigmatic title… we are far from the proud kids brandishing their lambs! A gloomy piano suddenly grabs you, and a tornado follows. The voice is still determined, but the guitars that flutter around seem surprisingly multiplied. The bass roars, it is precise, relentless, supporting the shouting voice of the second fiddle. And it’s headfirst that the quintet dives into the glorious post-punk revival that’s been raging in England for a few years now: Idles, Squid, Fontaines DC, Fat White Family… a great bunch of people ready to fight, to name but a few.
The previously pure melodies are slashed, pushed to the ground and set up again in a surprising chaos of sound. The rhythms are willingly changing within a single track, with an excellent drummer who struggles without missing a beat. Special mention to the single Six-Pack, relentless, in my opinion the bravest track of this album. Further on, an acoustic guitar invites us to a little respite on Orchid. But the respite hardly lasts, as this opus is so rough.
With the surrounding energy remaining unmistakably electric, you must be thinking that this album is a success, in my opinion? Well, probably, but I don’t like it.There is something that bothers me in this direction taken by the band, and even if the musical mastery is impressively accentuated, it is this kind of sound that I disliked on Drunk Tank Pink and that I find here again. The fact remains that it is appropriate to stand slightly amazed at the path taken by these five young Londoners in such a short time, and to keep an ear firmly directed towards their musical world.