Following two excellent records is no easy feat, but shame – like they do again and again – have raised the bar for themselves. ‘Food for Worms’ is a near forty minutes of creative rock, grounded in their post punk and art rock roots but with plenty of added sonic exploration. After over half a decade of being post punk royalty, shame still find a way to reinvent themselves while still preserving the edge that made the world fall in love with them.
‘Yankees’ rolls with an almost country twang with its plucky guitar riffs, descending into controlled chaos as the track thunders on. The 90s are prevalent here; god bless PIXIES and their revolutionary loud-quiet brand. shame are more dynamic than ever especially on ‘Adderall’. And this moment might just be the record’s magnum opus. With a coming-of-age, melancholic quality, the halfway point on the record is a serious statement. It shows a band exploring new sounds, slowing the tempo and delivering a track rich in cinematic sensibilities. Closer ‘All the People’ is a powerful conclusion, an arena-ready anthem which still feels intimate, again executing the loud-quiet approach perfectly. The blunt ‘this is finished’ sums up the album brilliantly, as the entire record feels like you’re sat in the same room as the band, a poster covered basement filled with friends and the people you love.
Though shame are enjoying sentimentality on ‘Food For Worms’, they haven’t forgotten their roots. ‘The Fall Of Paul’ is a track drenched in noise and feedback, glitchy and nearing-industrial energies keep the cut powering through. Recording live takes is pure bliss for tracks like this one, where the unpredictability has been captured perfectly purely by having the band in a live setting.
‘Food For Worms’ shows the band at their most mature, most visceral, all while still playing with the youthful experimentation that launched them into stardom. Softening the angsty post-punk edge of their first two projects, and merging their innovative aesthetics with a cathartic, raw and vulnerable tone makes for an exceptional record. shame’s third album is a snapshot of where they are now, still making sense of the world and the people around them, but with a newfound lens, a hindsight they were lacking on previous works. The result is an album soaked in nostalgia and melancholy but retains the razor-sharp edge that make shame so brilliant.
Words: James Mellen