On the track The Lick, the lead singer of London band Shame criticises NME approved indie music and repeats the line ‘relatable, not debatable’ until it becomes a mantra. The irony is that Shame have created a debut album that is relatable AND debatable at the same time.
Shame are angry. All the lyrics on Songs of Praise are stuffed with vitriol and nasty barbs and most of the time these are found in the chorus. It’s quite fun to sing I like you better when you’re not around (Tasteless). Most of Shame’s tracks are literally screamed to accentuate that pent up anger and like an rabid beast beware everything from love to politics get attacked by this rage filled band.
Although I have used words like rage and angry, musically Songs of Praise is not some angst filled screamo record. Each track has got a rich melodic sensibility. Sometimes it is fast ( Dust on Trial, Donk, Concrete) and sometimes it is downright anthemic , my personal favourite track being Friction, which pure catchiness. One Rizla is another track. The above mentioned The Lick is a spoken word piece that manages to sound like Blur circa 1994 and 1997. However the song where Shame display all their talents is closing track, Angie, a track dedicated to a departed friend of the band is six minutes of anger, a sing along chorus and a strange air of despair. It’s the perfect way to conclude an album with this much swagger and bravado.
Shame are among the new batch of British indie rockers that are not afraid to show their anger or distaste towards society and politics. As debuts go Songs of Praise is a fine fine debut that works as a perfect showcase to this band’s talents and if one looks at the bigger picture, it’s also a sign that British guitar rock is slowly gaining attention again.