Kings of the Transition: A Listen to Drunk Tank Pink by Shame

Photo by Sam Gregg

Commencing a countdown that gained stature daily like a rolling ball of new year snow for their second album Drunk Tank Pink is the dedicated South London punks Eddie, Charlie, Josh, Sean and Charlie named Shame.

Despite the gloom, doom and utter desperation we endured last year, the release of multiple colossally superb records provided solace and genuine excitement. Fons, Strokes, EE, the list goes on, even making the effort to dress up armed with a cocktail shaker for your private premier in your humble abode gave metaphorical light to an otherwise shady week. It appears Shame has kept the trend afloat by producing this strange and stealthy pure belter.

After the gold ratings of their 2018 debut Songs of Praise, extensive touring was their destiny; it takes a certain breed. When that lairy partying, constant travel, endless companionship and giving your heart and soul to expectant and hungry wolves is all said and done, exhaustion amplifies the wide-open space of contemplation, documented in March Day. Words "In my room in my womb is the only place I find peace, all alone, in my home, yeah, I still can’t get to sleep" assemble under hypnotising riffs and hooks, which is a trend repeated on many numbers.

The lads studied themselves, and not just that, but their generation to identify what they were struggling within their reality and how we manage a meaningful existence in our mad world. The quintet's new mature dawn transcends into their end product. It still owns spirit, attack, and youthful confidence found in the hammering and traditional Post-Punk 6/1 as it commands, "Pray to no god, I am God, I am every thought your mind has ever held", and the mocking simplicity of opener Alphabet. That said, seriousness and tender honesty can also be found in places.

Round and round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows. Do not try and guess where this collection is headed. It changes its mind and flips with style, also bending genres on its way. Take the shifts of Snow Day. Starting from a Block Party beat, the candidly spoken poetry lies on effective rumbling drums, holding a hint of romanticism: "And then I close my eyes, and then I fall to you", heading to a section that would feature in a bizarre musical in the depths of underground theatre. This also rings true for over six minutes of closer Station Wagon: a Rawhide trot descending into efficacious chaos. This lot are kings of the transition.

Frisky New Wave is upon us with Water in the Well that rightly earned the band legions of new fans, where humour shines through with the punchy rhythms- 'You're just my spe-spe-spe-spe-special friend'- and harmonious backing from the fold. Drunk Tank Pink hits the mark with every instrument and vocal pattern taking their own route yet as synchronised and in tune with each other as can be. Shame's second album is highly, highly artistic and really quite brilliant.

Article by Beverley Knight