Music Reviews

ALBUM REVIEW: Shame – Food for Worms

Photo Credit: Pooneh Ghana

Ever since shame stormed onto the scene with their single One Rizla, followed by the eventual Rough Trade Album of the Year Songs of Praise, they have been one of Britain’s brightest young bands. 

As their live show garnered a huge reputation, their music continued to improve in front of our eyes, as the more technical Drunk Tank Pink showed a band that were more than just an exciting garage rock band. Drunk Tank Pink was a charismatic explosion of passion, attitude and emotion, like the first record, it was received excellently.

The lead single and opening track of Food For Worms, Fingers of Steel, has yet again shown a band transitioning into a more mature sound. You can tell from the opening piano part almost instantly. It’s one of the band’s slower releases, and almost feels like their attempt at their own pièce de résistance, but to be totally honest, it doesn’t quite cut it.

shame are at their best when they are putting out quick punky tracks, and that can be seen in the following track Six-Pack, with punchy lyrics, throbbing bass and a Black Midi-style riff that is almost made for dancing drunk teens at festivals. 

Yankees’ strange intro feels like a beginner’s guitar lesson before seemingly the actual track begins. The track briefly explodes in the slightly inaudible noisy chorus, before floating between verses – it’s okay. 

Some more strange guitar playing comes back in Alibis. The riff sounds eerily like the main riff in Black Country New Road’s Sunglasses, like almost the exact same. As lead singer Charlie Steen sings about “Jack wants to fuck me”, then the track ends and you’re left thinking was that it?

Adderall falls on many of the same hurdles that other tracks on this LP, where they just fail to capture your imagination – even the backing singers sound bored in the chorus. Orchid sees Steen channelling his inner Nick Cave in one of the highlights of this record, with some of the extremely talented Charlie Forbes‘ best drumming on display.

Where this record seems to come into its own is towards the back end. The Fall of Paul has some awesome bass tones and enthralling guitar tunings. Fast paced, punky, and technically very impressive, this is undoubtedly today’s shame at their best.

Steen’s delivery in Burning By Design is some of his best vocals yet. Despite evidently being no Adele, he optimises what talent he has, and knows what he can and can’t do. He portrays passion better than so many vocalists, accompanied by a fantastic bass-driven bridge. This track is one of the band’s best.

Different Person has a gorgeous bassline but a less gorgeous group vocals section. This track does explode into life after a long build up, but the ringing guitar over the top is quite irritating. 

It almost feels like this LP would be improved if the band just let Steen do the vocals and they stick to their instruments, which they play so well for the vast majority of this record. 

These frustrations continue in album closer All The People. It just sounds like some sad drunks in a bar singing along to some song from the 80s they have just remembered, with some fairly average strumming in the background. 

This album is an interesting one. It certainly has its highs but it definitely has its faults. It feels like a band that doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. The punk feel which their earlier stuff had has gone for a good chunk of this record, but it’s not dead. The personality of this record is lacking which is why some tracks pass you by. 

It may be their worst record, but with the bar so high, it is tricky to keep that up after a long time. Shame. 


Standout Tracks: Six-Pack, The Fall of Paul, Burning by Design

For Fans Of: Black Midi, Fontaines D.C., Protomartyr

Written by: Joe Loughran

Tags : Shame