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  • Writer's pictureToni Bacon

REVIEW: "Drunk Tank Pink," the ineffible sophomore album from British post-punk band shame

Pink is thought to have a calming effect. One shade, known as "drunk-tank pink", is sometimes used in prisons to calm inmates. Shame’s sophomore release of the same name is anything but.

For any band, following up a stellar debut album is a challenge. Shame’s 2018 debut, Songs of Praise, charted well and received critical acclaim. Years of playing festivals and sold out shows have served Shame well, allowing them to hone their chops and grow their ever widening fan base. However, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of the dreaded second album curse here.

From the opening track “Alphabet” onward, Shame is in fine form. There is no slowing down.

While Songs of Praise was a masterclass in post-punk adolescent rebellion, Drunk Tank Pink shows a more mature and thoughtful band.

The stand out track, at least to my ears, is the six minute long closer, "Station Wagon." While it begins with singer Charlie Sheen doing his best beat poet impression, languid and dreamy, yet quickly gives way to his trademark staccato delivery.

This album feels and sounds like departure from what Shame has previously released. There is more introspection and experimentation. More self awareness and a willingness to take a chance.

While there are certainly echos of punk pioneers The Sex Pistols, Drunk Tank Pink is wholeheartedly a Shame record. It will leave you wanting more.

Born out of isolation, angst and burn out, Drunk Tank Pink looks into the abyss and smiles.

Drunk Tank Pink is available from and on all streaming platforms. Catch Shame on tour this October and November.

Toni Bacon is a Louisiana native transplanted to Atlanta. She enjoys adding to her already large vinyl collection, reading about history, anthropology, and music, and watching college football. She has a degree in English literature and spends a good deal of time wondering who Jack the Ripper actually was.

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