Food for Worms
- Genre: Alternative
- Date: 24 Feb, 2023
- Content: explicit
- Region: NGA
- Track(s): 10
- ℗ 2023 Dead Oceans
Steen and his bandmates became household names in the UK music press five years ago when they were hardly out of their teens, thanks to the adolescent wrath of their self-titled debut. They adopted a more tangled post-punk sound with 2021’s Drunk Tank Pink, with spiky rhythms, sprechgesang, free-associative road poems, and the like. Shame was categorized as part of a restless new wave of (primarily) British and Irish post-punk weirdos with cryptic names that sound like military codes and talk more than they sing, including Black Country, New Road, Dry Cleaning, Fontaines D.C., and Squid. However, Shame never quite felt like a part of that crowd. Drummer Charlie Forbes said, “We were trying to be too sophisticated.” Their music featured choruses. The term “post-punk” bothered them; Bob Dylan than Public Image Ltd more influenced Steen.
The creative album art sees the band depict synergy and oneness as the characters in the album art are seen to be uniformly dressed and in the water under a star-filled night sky that has the moon in attendance too. The clothing seems to share some fashion similarities with the stars in the sky, which may be interpreted as the band acknowledging its uniqueness and Star-Power. The smiling Character can be seen in a bit playful pose while the others surround behind and don’t look to make a fuss about it. This can also mean that the band agrees on activities they engage in together, and even if one may not be comfortable with it, the Spirit of the team is paramount.
Tracks and Features
With their heart-on-sleeve sincerity on the 10-track album “Food for Worms,” the band further sets itself apart from the distanced nonsequiturs of Florence Shaw of Dry Cleaning and the frenzied hysteria of Ollie Judge of Squid. Phoebe Bridgers appears on the British punk band’s third full-length LP.
With its rickety piano and tales of 20-something gloom, “Fingers of Steel” opens the album and is like the Hold Steady for disgruntled Brits who enjoy odd tunings. Although “Different Person” captures the unease of witnessing a loved one change into an entirely different person, “Fingers of Steel” extracts additional anguish from this situation by alternating between empathy and annoyance at a friend’s despair.
The album, which was recorded live in the studio, captures their festival-stage energy battery and has a rousing, communal spirit that melts shards of icy post-punk into warmer forms, such as the wah-wah psych-rock euphoria of “Six-Pack” or the roiling annoyance of “Yankees,” a somber ballad in which Steen exorcises a severely toxic relationship.
The song “Adderall,” which laments watching a buddy “pop and slip away” due to their prescription medication addiction, is the emotional high point of the South London band’s third and best album, Food for Worms. I know it’s not a choice/You open up the doors/Then you hear another voice,” the lead singer Charlie Steen sings in the bridge before erupting into a raspy, hopeless appeal.
This young British band’s song is the closest thing to a power ballad they’ve ever written, and it’s fuelled by a reservoir of sympathy and catharsis that only sometimes surfaced on their earlier records.
Another melancholy song that evokes the weight of a childhood friendship gone sour is “Orchid,” a beautiful, waltz-time ballad in which Steen sings in a dry tenor that’s equal parts Matt Berninger and Bernard Sumner.
“All the People,” a six-minute chant about brotherly love and evoking the Pogues, brings the album to a stumbling-yet-climaxing close. It makes sense that an album deeply rooted in friendship’s triumphs and struggles would also capture its sounds. A joyous snippet of studio conversations marks the end of the listening journey of “Food for Worms.”
|Fingers of Steel
|The Fall of Paul
|Burning By Design
|All the People
As a result, Shame has an album drenched in nostalgia and sorrow while still maintaining its exceptional razor-sharp edge. The newest release by Shame is a welcome haven for listeners who want live music that gets them fired up and lets them see a band’s stylistic development. It has a sense of coherence and complete honesty, embracing its flaws with openness. High-octane surprise overflows from “Food For Worms.” This is the sound of a band at the height of its abilities.