Posts Tagged ‘Drunk Tank Pink’

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The phrase “drunk tank pink” that Shame take the name of their new album from refers to the shade of paint used to pacify inhabitants of European jails who were picked up for disorderly conduct while inebriated. It’s also the colour of the closet-sized apartment frontman Charlie Steen shared with guitarist Sean Coyle-Smith though, in the context of their new album, I imagine it’s a more metaphorical usage, one referring to the reeling in of the group’s chaotic tendencies.

The result of (per Steen) “a bath and a good night’s sleep,” Drunk Tank Pink continues the rousing tradition of the Shame project by relying on heavy experimentalism rather than the relentless punk that fuelled 2018’s preceding “Songs of Praise”. While more grounded than the chic, Black Midi-fied post-punk of fellow English acts like Black Country New Road and Squid, DTP sounds like the work of a band who’s fed up with the constraints of genre.

With the LP dropping today, we reached out to the band for a behind-the-scenes look at each track on the project, detailing themes ranging from “the beauty of all canines” to  “lust and puppets.”

1. “Alphabet”

A direct question to the audience and the performer as to whether any of this will ever be enough to reach satisfaction. The genius of Drunk Tank Pink is how these lyrical themes dovetail with the music. Opener Alphabet dissects the premise of performance over a siren call of nervous, jerking guitars, its chorus thrown out like a beer bottle across a mosh pit. Songs spin off and lurch into unexpected directions throughout here,

2. “Nigel Hitter”

This song focuses on daily routine, the motions we go through, and how extraordinary all this seemed to me after coming home from touring.

3. “Born in Luton”

“Born in Luton” is about being locked outside a flat. It exaggerates the mundane and makes it into something unique and overtly dramatic.

4. “March Day”

This is about my consistent unwillingness to wake up on time—my obsession and devotion to my bed and my bedroom.  March Day’s escalating aural panic attack 

5. “Water in the Well”

Over the last few years we’ve been consistently inspired by the people we’ve met and the places we’ve been. All these locations and characters have an effect on us and seep their way into this song, including “Acid Dad,” the name of the person who runs Dewar Farm in which we wrote a lot of DTP. 

6. “Snow Day”

A lot of this album focuses on the subconscious and dreams, this song being the pivotal moment of these themes. A song about love that is lost and the comfort and displeasure that comes after you close your eyes, fall into sleep, and are forced to confront yourself. the shapeshifting darkness of Snow Day

7. “Human, for a Minute”

The first song we wrote after Songs of Praise, the main focus being on a relationship slipping away and the discovery of my own identity through this collapse. There’s a Berlin era Bowie beauty to the lovelorn Human For A Minute .

From the womb to the clouds (sort of), Shame are currently very much in the pink.

8. “Great Dog”

One of the first ones we got down in Dewar Farm for DTP, a nonsense song about the perks of thievery and the beauty of all canines. 

9. “6/1”

An intense evaluation of myself, exploiting my flaws, fears, and narcissism. 

10. “Harsh Degrees”

A song of lust and puppets. 

11. “Station Wagon”

Closer Station Wagon weaves from a downbeat mooch into a souring, soul- lifting climax in which Steen elevates himself beyond the clouds and into the heavens. Or at least that’s what it sounds like. A final conversation with myself and an ode to the great Sir Elton John at the end.

There are moments on “Drunk Tank Pink” where you almost have to reach for the sleeve to check this is the same band who made 2018’s Songs Of Praise. Such is the jump Shame have made from the riotous post-punk of their debut to the sprawling adventurism and twitching anxieties laid out here. The South Londoner’s blood and guts spirit, that wink and grin of devious charm, is still present, it’s just that it’s grown into something bigger, something deeper, more ambitious and unflinchingly honest.

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Shame are releasing a new album, “Drunk Tank Pink”, next Friday (January 15) via Dead Oceans Records. This week they shared another song from it, “Nigel Hitter,” via a video for it. Maxim Kelly directed the video, reworking archival footage to make it seem like babies are singing along to the song.

Frontman Charlie Steen had this to say about the song in a press release: “The song is at the heart of what Drunk Tank Pink is about. After we finished touring I was left with a lot of silence as I stumbled around trying to figure out the daily routine. On top of that, I was confronting my subconscious at night through a series of intense dreams which left me in a daze during the day. ‘Nigel Hitter’ feels like a cathartic expression of that period.” 

Frontman Charlie Steen had this to say about the song and upcoming album in a press release: “A lot of this album focuses on the subconscious and dreams, this song being the pivotal moment of these themes. A song about love that is lost and the comfort and displeasure that comes after you close your eyes, fall into sleep, and are forced to confront yourself.” 

Drunk Tank Pink includes “Water in the Well,” and “Snow Day,” Shame’s previous album, Songs of Praise, was released in January 2018 on Dead Oceans.

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There are moments on Drunk Tank Pink where you almost have to reach for the sleeve to check this is the same band who made 2018’s Songs Of Praise. Such is the jump Shame have made from the riotous post-punk of their debut to the sprawling adventurism and twitching anxieties laid out here. The South Londoner’s blood and guts spirit, that wink and grin of devious charm, is still present, it’s just that it’s grown into something bigger, something deeper, more ambitious and unflinchingly honest.

The genius of Drunk Tank Pink is how these lyrical themes dovetail with the music. Opener Alphabet dissects the premise of performance over a siren call of nervous, jerking guitars, its chorus thrown out like a beer bottle across a mosh pit. Songs spin off and lurch into unexpected directions throughout here, be it March Day’s escalating aural panic attack or the shapeshifting darkness of Snow Day. There’s a Berlin era Bowie beauty to the lovelorn Human For A Minute while closer Station Wagon weaves from a downbeat mooch into a souring, soul- lifting climax in which Steen elevates himself beyond the clouds and into the heavens. Or at least that’s what it sounds like.

From the womb to the clouds (sort of), Shame are currently very much in the pink. At five-minutes-plus, shame come out with a pretty epic white-out on ‘Snow Day’, the latest track to be taken from their forthcoming second album ‘Drunk Tank Pink’, which is set to arrive on January 15th 2021 via Dead Oceans

Charlie Steen’s sombre opening soon moves into familiar menacing territory, carried by Charlie Forbes‘ formidable drumming, and the sharp, post-punk guitar riffs which dig like ice picks, dictating the flow. Tense and propulsive, Steen’s lyrics dovetail with the music, from its reflective opening to the power of its highest points.  “A lot of this album focuses on the subconscious and dreams,” explains Steen, “this song being the pivotal moment of these themes. A song about love that is lost and the comfort and displeasure that comes after you close your eyes, fall into sleep, and are forced to confront yourself.”

Alongside, the band have shared accompanying visuals featuring drone footage shot in the Scottish Borders – where the band wrote ‘Drunk Tank Pink’ – and the stark, snow-covered hills make a befitting backdrop for the atmospheric build of the track.

The band have also announced they will perform a live set from Rough Trade Records on January 14 2021.

“Snow Day” taken from shame’s new album ‘Drunk Tank Pink’, out 15 January 2021 on Dead Oceans Records.

What especially takes the biscuit, for us, is the news of Shame’s new album! since we witnessed their debut shake the very foundations of modern post-punk, we’ve been feverishly awaiting the next chapter in the saga of these lovely boys & it looks like they’ve swerved hard out of the path of any career ruts with this newie. their second album expands their sound into more anxious & atmospheric environs, tautly roped together by frontman Charlie Steen’s agitated vocals. what’s cause for even more excitement is the choice of coloured vinyl on offer! you can have any colour you like as long as it’s pink (or standard black). get your pre-orders in extra quick if you fancy grabbing the limited indies exclusive on galaxy pink vinyl with signed insert or the limited indies opaque pink lp.

There are moments on ‘Drunk Tank Pink’ where you almost have to reach for the sleeve to check this is the same band who made 2018’s ‘Songs Of Praise’. Such is the jump Shame have made from the riotous post-punk of their debut to the sprawling adventurism and twitching anxieties laid out here. The South Londoner’s blood and guts spirit, that wink and grin of devious charm, is still present, it’s just that it’s grown into something bigger, something deeper, more ambitious and unflinchingly honest.

To understand this creative leap you need to first understand the journey Shame undertook to get here. From their beginnings as wide-eyed teenagers taken under the decrepit wing of The Fat White Family to becoming the most celebrated new band in Britain and their subsequent crash back down to earth. Come in, and close the door behind you…It’s no exaggeration to say the members of Shame have spent their entire adult life on the road. A wild-eyed tour of duty marked by glorious music and damaged psyches, when it eventually careered to a stop the band were parachuted back into home territory. Shell shocked, dislocated and grasping for some semblance of self.

Shame’s previous bases – the notorious den of iniquity that was The Queens Head pub, the musical petri dish of Brixton’s Windmill – were either gentrified into obsolescence or no longer viable as an HQ. Sometimes home just isn’t home anymore. Or at least it’s not the way you remember it.

To cope, guitarist Sean Coyle-Smith barricaded himself in his bedroom. Barely leaving the house and instead obsessively deconstructing his very approach to playing and making music, he picked apart the threads of the music he was devouring (Talking Heads, Nigerian High Life, the dry funk of ESG, Talk Talk…) and created work infused with panic and crackling intensity.

“For this album I was so bored of playing guitar,” he recalls, “the thought of even playing it was mind-numbing. So I started to write and experiment in all these alternative tunings and not write or play in a conventional ‘rock’ way.”

Frontman Charlie Steen, meanwhile, took a different tac and attempted to party his way out of psychosis. “When you’re exposed to all of that for the first time you think you’re fucking indestructible,” he notes. “After a few years you reach a point where you realise everyone need a bath and a good night’s sleep sometimes.” An intense bout of waking fever-dreams convinced Steen that self medicating his demons wasn’t a very healthy plan of action and it was probably time to stop and take a look inward. Shame had always been about exposure – be that the rogues’ gallery of characters they drew inspiration from or the cornucopia of joy to be had from simply being in a band – this time, however, they were exposed to themselves.

“You become very aware of yourself and when all of the music stops, you’re left with the silence,” reflects Steen. “And that silence is a lot of what this record is about.”

Pass along the plant-strewn corridor leading into Steen and Coyle-Smith’s shared living space in South East London and hidden away to your left is a dank, brown curtain. Pull it back and open the door… welcome to the womb.

More of a cupboard than a room (it used to house the washing machine until they lugged it outside and put a bed in) and painted floor to ceiling in the specific shade of pink used to calm down drunk tank inmates, the womb is where Steen cocooned himself away to reflect and write. Scraping and shaking lyrics out of himself that – through the prism of his own surrealistic dreams – addressed the psychological toll life in the band had taken on him. The disintegration of his relationship, the loss of a sense of self and the growing identity crisis both the band and an entire generation were feeling.

“The common theme when I was catching up with my mates was this identity crisis everyone was having,” reflects Steen. “No one knows what the fuck is going on.”

“It didn’t matter that we’d just come back off tour thinking, ‘How do we deal with reality?!?’” agrees Coyle-Smith. “I had mates that were working in a pub and they were also like, ‘How do I deal with reality?!?’ Everyone was going through it.”

The genius of ‘Drunk Tank Pink’ is how these lyrical themes dovetail with the music. Opener “Alphabet” dissects the premise of performance over a siren call of nervous, jerking guitars, its chorus thrown out like a beer bottle across a mosh pit. “Nigel Hitter”, meanwhile, turns the mundanity of routine into something spectacular via a disjointed jigsaw of syncopated rhythms and broken wristed punk funk.

Bassist Josh Finerty had begun to record the band’s divergent ideas at home in South London which were then fleshed out in a writing trip in the Scottish highlands with electronic artist Makeness, before sessions in La Frette studios in France with Arctic Monkeys producer James Ford. The result is an enormous expansion of Shame’s sonic arsenal.

Songs spin off and lurch into unexpected directions throughout here, be it “March Day’s” escalating aural panic attack or the shapeshifting darkness of “Snow Day”. There’s a Berlin era Bowie beauty to the lovelorn “Human For A Minute” while closer “Station Wagon” weaves from a downbeat mooch into a souring, soul-lifting climax in which Steen elevates himself beyond the clouds and into the heavens. Or at least that’s what it sounds like.

“No that’s about Elton John,” laughs Steen. “I read somewhere about him being so cracked out that he told his PA to move a cloud that was blocking the sun. I just thought that was the greatest, Shakespearean expression of ego. Humour is a massive part of this band. We’re not some French existential act where everything is actually sad. There’s light in it as well.” From the womb to the clouds (sort of), Shame are currently very much in the pink

“Water in the Well” taken from Shame’s new album ‘Drunk Tank Pink’, out 15th January 2021 on Dead Oceans Records