SHAME 'Songs Of Praise' LP


On Sunday afternoons, one of the BBC’s oldest running shows, “Songs of Praise,” fills certain British living rooms with the angelic choirs of the country’s church services. It is an institution—traditional, stuffy, and royally approved. The fact that Shame’s debut LP shares the name indicates the quintet’s sense of humor. Songs of Praise threatens to storm into those god-fearing living rooms like an uninvited black sheep, staining the image of safe Britain with post-punk hymns of disgust. Emerging from the same South London pub that housed the squat-chic reprobates Fat White Family, Shame are also indebted to The Fall and Gang of Four. Like FWF, they’re cocky enough to reanimate their ancestors’ corpses.

But in their fight to distinguish themselves from every other white male British guitar band, Shame imbue their post-adolescent rage with wit and, crucially, an awareness that they may never succeed. From the opening murky “Dust on Trial,” frontman Charlie Steen is fixed on the idea of remaining unheard: “What’s the point of talking if all your words have been said?” He preempts the inevitability that British critics will herald them as saviors of the scene by rejecting the construct. “The idea of a rock star is offensive,” he told the Guardian in a profile that was splashed across the paper’s front page. - Pitchfork

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