Shame – Drunk Tank Pink (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 41:37 minutes | 538 MB | Genre: Punk
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Dead Oceans
The London post-punk band’s second album is bigger, louder, and more textured as frontman Charlie Steen anxiously details the strange gap between youth and adulthood.
Drunk-tank pink is the shade of pacification. Meant to neutralize hostility and placate violence, the color was originally developed for a naval correctional institute in 1979, and when studies appeared to confirm its calming effects, the bubblegum hue was splashed across prison cells, psychiatric wards, and of course, drunk tanks. South London loudmouths Shame seem immune to its powers. Their second album is named for the pigment, which frontman Charlie Steen slathered on the walls of a roomy closet at home. During a period of self-imposed hermetism inside what he christened “the Womb,” Steen sat in silence and channeled an internal noise.
Songs Of Praise was rather the eye of the post-punk revival storm. With this first Qobuzissime album, released in 2018, Shame won listeners over through a mixture of charisma, violence and originality, producing an ambiguous soundtrack for a grey England, frustrated and alert, an electric symphony that inherited from predecessors like the Fall, Gang Of Four and Killing Joke… Two years later, singer Charlie Steen, guitarists Sean Coyle-Smith and Eddie Green, drummer Charlie Forbes and bassist Josh Finerty are still going strong. And just as well. The Brixton gang have mostly found the right balance for their difficult second album, retaining the characteristic style of Songs of Praise without wallowing in it. Drunk Tank Pink plays with changes of rhythm, imprecations, tense – even very tense – sequences, over-the-top repetitive passages, and humorous gimmicks too. Above all, the teenage rage is eclipsed a little in favour of increased sound space and reflection. Losing identity and navigating reality, Steen has pulled out all the stops to make this second album more… adult?
“After we finished touring,” the singer explains, “I was left with a lot of silence as I stumbled around trying to figure out the daily routine. On top of that, I was confronting my subconscious at night through a series of intense dreams which left me in a daze during the day. ‘Nigel Hitter’ feels like a cathartic expression of that period.” On Born in Luton, Shame opens on an almost-funky groove in the Talking Heads/ESG mould, before taking a 180° turn towards a more oppressive ambiance. The Londoners fascinate with this schizophrenic pivot that repeats throughout the song and fits well with the atmosphere of a hectic world. And when the 41st and final minute of Drunk Tank Pink comes to an end, the urge to take a ride on this neo-post-punk rollercoaster is overwhelming. – Marc Zisman
1. Shame – Alphabet
2. Shame – Nigel Hitter
3. Shame – Born in Luton
4. Shame – March Day
5. Shame – Water in the Well
6. Shame – Snow Day
7. Shame – Human, for a Minute
8. Shame – Great Dog
9. Shame – 6/1
10. Shame – Harsh Degrees
11. Shame – Station Wagon