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Shame: Songs of Praise review – seething sarky passion and anthemic pop

Impassioned … Shame.
Impassioned … Shame. Photograph: Osman Zafar

Emerging from the same snot-encrusted, verruca-sock culture of south-east London that bred Fat White Family, this group of articulate, sarcastic but impassioned young men are the ones most likely to cross over into traditional indie circles: there’s a Stone Roses-style naive melody on Friction, and Angie is the kind of epic that closed Britpop albums. But there’s also seething post-punk that recalls early Fugazi, and the lyrics – full of blood, spunk and dirt – are far too jaded and contradictory to make for easy indie-disco fodder. They’re delivered by supremely charismatic frontman Charlie Steen, pitching his delivery between Bullingdon and borstal. As well as his brilliantly smart-arse stream of consciousness on The Lick, the peak is the single One Rizla, where teenage gripes and insecurities cohere into grownup emotional clarity, Steen yelling “you’re clinging to conflict / just let go!” as a massive anthem surges behind him.

This article titled "Shame: Songs of Praise review – seething sarky passion and anthemic pop" was written by Ben Beaumont-Thomas, for The Guardian on Thursday 11 January 2018 10.15pm

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