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Shame - Food For Worms (Album Review)

Monday, 27 February 2023 Written by Maddy Howell

Since establishing themselves as figureheads of the British post-punk revival with their 2018 debut, ‘Songs of Praise’, South London’s Shame have not been ones for complacency.

With their first LP recorded when the band were barely out of adolescence, by the time 2021’s ‘Drunk Tank Pink’ came into the world Shame were the sort of band capable of creating an album of searing raw energy. Consolidating the rambunctiousness of their debut into something more focused yet seemingly unrestrained, album two was an angst-ridden, playful gem that encapsulated the band’s transition into adulthood.

So after a near perfect sophomore release that begged the question, ‘Just how do they follow that?’ the answer is here with ‘Food for Worms’.

And, from the anthemic introduction of Fingers of Steel onwards, we’re sent hurtling down a wondrous labyrinth of sonic exploration. 

Crafting arena-ready hits generously coated in the same dynamic art-punk edge that has always distinguished them, through 10 tracks littered with twists and turns Shame provide depth to their sound unlike anything they’ve ventured into before. 

Everything feels freer, from vocalist Charlie Steen’s unrestrained songwriting approach down to the recording itself. Vulnerability blisters through the dynamic Pixies-influenced Six-Pack and The Fall of Paul’s glitchy, almost industrial, flickers while the loud/quiet switch-ups of Orchid and Alibis feel refined yet deeply cathartic.

With Steen wearing his heart firmly on his sleeve, ‘Food for Worms’ offers a fragile glimpse into the inner workings of the frontman’s mind, with the melancholic Adderall seeing him at his most reflective. A cinematic masterclass in restraint, the mid-album lighters-in-air cut is a marker of the visceral humanity within Shame, amplified as the liberating release of All The People fades out into studio chatter at the album’s end.

“And it’s finished,” Steen signs off. It’s a simple closer for an album that demands little else. Shame have done it again.

Shame Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue February 28 2023 - DUBLIN Button Factory
Wed March 01 2023 - DUBLIN Button Factory
Fri March 03 2023 - GLASGOW SWG3 Galvanizers
Sat March 04 2023 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Boiler Shop
Sun March 05 2023 - LEEDS Leeds University Stylus
Tue March 07 2023 - SHEFFIELD Leadmill
Wed March 08 2023 - LIVERPOOL Invisible Wind Factory
Thu March 09 2023 - BRISTOL SWX
Sat March 11 2023 - MANCHESTER New Century
Sun March 12 2023 - CARDIFF THE TRAMSHED
Fri April 28 2023 - LONDON Troxy

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