Column: ‘Drunk Tank Pink’ a great new album

Ryan Meyer

London post-punk band shame have kicked off 2021 with a fantastic second record, “Drunk Tank Pink.” It’s been three years since the release of their debut record “Songs of Praise,” and the follow-up is proving to be well worth the wait. The songs last longer and time signatures change as the guitars switch between abrasive noise and screaming single-note melodies that cut into songs like “Snow Day.”

The design of the record is just as good as the music. The font choice and color schemes are minimal but effective and the fact that all the singles save “Alphabet” had the same covers reinforced the simplicity of the design.

I’m not usually one for noise rock, but on “Drunk Tank Pink” the louder sections act almost as though they are providing cover for the subtle beauty of the band’s guitar interplay in songs like “6/1” and “Born in Luton,” the latter of which may be the most interesting song on the album, with a synthesizer line reminiscent of the guitar in Talking Heads’ “Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On).”

While the beginning of the song features shame’s typical energy, there is a dramatic switch-up at the chorus where the tone becomes incredibly somber and the guitars slow to a crawl, but the moment doesn’t last as the kick drum brings the song into the next verse, at least until the band returns to the cacophonic chorus for an even more impactful conclusion.

Another notable song is “6/1,” which begins with a spindly guitar line that takes on more significance as its counterpart enters arpeggiating a chord in such a way that both parts begin to mirror the always-steady and active drumbeat.

The best thing about “Drunk Tank Pink” is that there isn’t a song that sticks out or casts a shadow over the others. I can enjoy “Snow Day” just as much as “Human, for a Minute” before switching to “6/1” or “Born in Luton.” The record is consistent all the way through and shows a band that clearly had a reason for taking their time. It’d make sense if the reason was a devoted attention to detail because that’s what comes across to the listener.

Not enough people realize it, but shame, along with bands like Fontaines D.C., the Murder Capital and Protomartyr have been releasing some of the best rock music in years. “Drunk Tank Pink” is the newest installment to this catalogue of guitar music that draws on familiar influences but does so in such a way that the music remains fresh and exciting.


Ryan Meyer is a sophomore journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]