Label: Dead Oceans
Released: 24th February 2023
The tale of how Shame were challenged by their management to come up with a whole new batch of songs in just a few weeks to debut live at shows has already become something close to legend. Talk about how to breathe life into a band who weren’t exactly running short of air as it was though. ‘Food For Worms’, their third record, arrives fresh from that experiment and finds the band sounding better than ever.
Album number three is often that point where you can see whether an artist is going to sit in their comfort zone forever more and take the easy money or take a risk and evolve. And here, Shame have chosen to go for it big time. ‘Fingers Of Steel’ and ‘Six-Pack’ you already know of course, the former dressed in its favourite beer-stained Cribs t-shirt while the latter brings forth some juicy math rock vibes. That’s only the start of what they’re dug up here. ‘Yankees’ begins as pure slacker rock, and then bubbles and builds and expands in unexpected directions. The blissful and wistful ‘Adderall’ is a real highlight, building from into a crashing crescendo reminiscent of Pavement at their best, helped all the way by those vocals that Phoebe DEFINITELY DID. Meanwhile, tracks like ‘Alibis’ and’ The Fall Of Paul’ show that the band have lost none of the danger and thunder of life pre-being worm food.
Change is in the air, with 2023 already seeing two of the post-punk big hitters switching up their sound and easing themselves out of what we had come to expect. And just like The Murder Capital did, Shame have come up with something special here. Proper lightning in a bottle stuff, its lack of polish and abrasive edges capture the energy and excitement from one of the country’s best live bands and, pinching what another band said once, showing Shame at their very best.