Shame – Oxford Times 18/5/17

Shame – The Cellar – 4/5/17

Was there ever a more apt and rational time time for a punk resurgence? With political discontent high and our economy wheezing and spluttering like a marathon runner with bronchitis, art truly does imitate life with the emergence of a well fed and motivated British punk scene. A key feature of the movement, as well as the token screams of disillusionment and raucous, contorted guitar chords, is a more technical aspect to the music, bands finding almost math like precision in amongst their barrage of noise and disorder. Shame are of this ilk and after drips and drabs of studio work seeping out, we await what will surely be a masterful debut album due to be released later this year.

Indeed to label Shame as purely a punk act would be reductive, their music transcending multiple genres and the guitar work could sit as well in a prog rock outfit, Eddie Green’s intricate work providing subtlety and intelligence to what is powerful, throbbing music. Standing like an obscene orator of disobedience, Charlie Steen passionately but astutely argues Shame’s corner as regards politics, lifestyle and societal presumptions, his worldview confused and condescending, Shame asking their audience how we got here and where are we to go.

Songs like The Lick showcase a rare, dying breed of song structure, a Stranglers-esque stream of consciousness culminating in a huge chorus and compelling subject matter and it is clear to all who sweated and snarled at the Cellar that something is moving through our music at present, as though the undercurrent of distain and derision is being mirrored in our musicians and songwriters. It truly is magical to see this, in an age of post movements and post truth, that grievances can be cathartically aired in an underground and darkened venue in the heart of our city.

If people have become jaded and tired with over produced, bubblegum, vapid nothingness then bands like Shame should rehydrate and replenish such cynicism. As Shame unapologetically batter their way through a faultless set, there was more to it than merely noise and rhythm. There was a point to it all, it had a soul and an overwhelming feeling of movement. And it was wonderfully, perfectly necessary.


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