Societal breakdown never sounded so good on these South Londoners’ spiky debut.
South London guttersnipes’ snarling riposte to Brexit-era Britain.
SHAME SONGS OF PRAISE DEAD OCEANS, OUT 12 JANUARY
With their confrontational live shows, a line of Tory-baiting band merchandise and an obscenely sexualised online-only ballad for Theresa May, South Londoners Shame have emerged as one of Brexit-era rock’s most insurrectionary new voices. Accordingly, their debut, Songs Of Praise, explodes into action with Dust On Trial, ablaze with apocalyptic ire like ’ 80s doomsayers Killing Joke, as rawthroated frontman Charlie Steen barks, “Will you walk this land with me?”, amid disturbing images of global confusion and bleeding soil. The incendiary mood largely prevails. With echoes of The Fall’s thunderous Kraut-garage clattering behind him, Steen avoids direct political comment, preferring to needle at the social/domestic anxieties arising from these testing times. “I can stay afloat, measure money with fear?”, he wonders in Concrete, “At least I can try.” It’s a scathing racket that’s a fabulously cathartic antidote to the triple-dip recessionary blues. Crucially, the fury relents for occasional pretty moments, such as the FX-tingling One Rizla, and closer Angie’s fluctuating maelstrom, each mapping a sonic architecture worthy of Felt. Mostly, though, Shame are here to cause discomfort, to agitate with their cacophonous howl. In spoken-word track The Lick, Steen rails bitterly at music that’s “relatable not debatable”, and those people who choose to listen to it. “I don’t want to be heard if you’re the only one listening,” he concludes, ever the divisive Mark E Smith-style provocateur. It’s rarely an easy listen, but in among all the post-punk references lurks a soundtrack to 2018’ s looming global catastrophe that’s urgent and compelling. ANDREW PERRY Listen To: Concrete | One Rizla
A FABULOUSLY CATHARTIC ANTIDOTE TO THE TRIPLE-DIP RECESSIONARY BLUES.
Shame (frontman Charlie Steen, second right): “are here to agitate with their cacophonous howl.”