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Shame - Drunk Tank Pink (Album Review)

Monday, 18 January 2021 Written by Huw Baines

The bug-eyed intensity of Shame’s breakthrough is the sort that can be weathered by time, and set upon by the mundanity of everyday life. They confront that reality on their second album, ‘Drunk Tank Pink’, in a manner that suggests they will never be a group for whom half measures will suffice.

The backstory here is relatively straightforward—hard-touring band regroups at home, rethinking their approach in light of new experiences and a rut caused by playing the same songs night after night—but the execution is vital, exciting and in-your-face.

Guitarist Sean Coyle-Smith’s embrace of Talking Heads’ funky streak is apparent in the fidgety Nigel Hitter and March Day, offering an eminently danceable counterpoint to post-punk tracks that stick closer to the blueprints utilised on the band’s debut ‘Songs of Praise’.

The real difference here is a cacophonous sense of menace and urgency, driven on by the blown out rhythm section of bassist Josh Finerty and drummer Charlie Forbes.

To complement that, vocalist Charlie Steen’s talky proselytising takes the form of grimly memorable shoutalongs or, on songs like the fabulous Water in the Well, surprisingly deft melodic swerves.

One thing that makes ‘Drunk Tank Pink’ stand apart is the sense of swagger that accompanies its blockbuster presentation. It is one thing to decide to make a confrontational record, another to do so without losing the intent in translation. Shame attack each musical element—subtle or outsized—with the same level of dedication and intensity. Consequently, Snow Day’s skittering percussion has the same cut and thrust as Born in Luton’s febrile anti-dancefloor posturing. 

Shame have broadened their horizons here, but they hit each change in scenery as though it’s a stage at a shitty club that they can bend to their will through commitment to the bit and extreme volume. As a result, ‘Drunk Tank Pink’ is entirely arresting.

Shame Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue February 02 2021 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Wed February 03 2021 - MIDDLESBROUGH Hub, Teesside University
Fri February 05 2021 - MANCHESTER YES (The Pink Room)
Sat February 06 2021 - GLASGOW SWG3
Mon February 08 2021 - YORK Crescent
Tue February 09 2021 - HUDDERSFIELD Parish
Wed February 10 2021 - HEBDEN BRIDGE Trades Club
Fri February 12 2021 - BLACKPOOL Bootleg Social
Sat February 13 2021 - COVENTRY Empire.
Sun February 14 2021 - DERBY Venue - Derby
Wed February 17 2021 - CAMBRIDGE Corn Exchange
Thu February 18 2021 - BEDFORD Esquires
Sat February 20 2021 - MILTON KEYNES Craufurd Arms
Tue February 23 2021 - ST ALBANS Horn
Wed February 24 2021 - TUNBRIDGE WELLS Assembly Hall
Sat February 27 2021 - BRIGHTON Chalk
Thu April 22 2021 - LONDON Electric Brixton
Tue November 09 2021 - CARDIFF Tramshed
Wed November 10 2021 - BIRMINGHAM Birmingham The Mill
Fri November 12 2021 - LONDON Electric Brixton
Sat November 13 2021 - LONDON Electric Brixton
Mon November 15 2021 - BRIGHTON Chalk, Brighton
Tue November 16 2021 - NORWICH Waterfront
Wed November 17 2021 - SHEFFIELD Leadmill
Fri November 19 2021 - LEEDS Leeds Beckett Student Union
Sat November 20 2021 - GLASGOW QMU
Sun November 21 2021 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Boiler Shop
Tue November 23 2021 - CAMBRIDGE Cambridge Junction
Wed November 24 2021 - MANCHESTER O2 Ritz
Thu November 25 2021 - LIVERPOOL Hangar 34
Fri November 26 2021 - BRISTOL SWX

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