‘Songs Of Praise’ is the highly anticipated debut album from Shame, a bunch of South London school friends Charlie Steen (vocals), Sean Coyle-Smith (guitar), Eddie Green (guitar), Charlie Forbes (drums) and Josh Finerty (bass) who formed the band in a practice space at the infamous Queen’s Head in Brixton. Given three long months - rather than the usual six weeks - to fill in June 2014 after their AS levels, starting a band seemed the best use of that time for everyone.
Since then the band have proven themselves a spectacular live act and in just over three years they have become the most viscerally thrilling new band in the UK. The Queen’s Head was a lawless space where The Fat White Family rehearsed. "We kind of just took refuge there," says Forbes. "The Fat Whites didn't really know we existed for a while until we started using their stuff as we didn't have any instruments." From the outset, Shame built the band up from a foundation of DIY ethos while citing The Fall and Wire among their biggest musical influences.
Shame thrive on confrontation. Whether it be the seething intensity crackling throughout debut album ‘Songs Of Praise’ or the adrenaline-pumping chaosthat unfolds at Shame’s shows, it’s all fuelled byfeeling. NPR’s Bob Boilen noted, “Of the 70 bands I saw at this year’s SXSW, the band Shame seemed to mean what they played more than any other.”
Utilising both the grit and sincerity of that musical background, Shame carved out a niche in the South London music scene and then barrelled fearlessly into the angular, thrashing post punk that would go on to make up ‘Songs Of Praise’, their Dead Oceans debut. From ‘Gold Hole’, a tongue-in-cheek takedown of rock narcissism, to lead track ‘Concrete’ detailing the overwhelming moment of realising a relationship is doomed, to the frustrated ‘Tasteless’ taking aim at the monotony of people droning through their day-to-day, ‘Songs Of Praise’ never pauses to catch its breath.
"We are trying to capture a moment that has yet to cease - something that is ongoing and developing," says Steen on what Shame’s driving force is. "Something that is honest in a lot of ways. None of these stories are fabricated. They are all, unfortunately, true."