shame: Food For Worms [Album Review]

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Food For Worms
Dead Oceans [2023]

The Fire Note headphone approved

When we first heard shame return on 2021’s Drunk Tank Pink, it blew our ears off! To quote Christopher Anthony, “This is a record that now has me supporting the early hype and turning this record up every time I hear it!” It’s a brash and ragged piece of post-punk with an off kilter feel that you don’t hear much these days. Even using the post-punk label is something that the band themselves wouldn’t agree with. The newest album, Food For Worms might add a little bit more proof to that pudding. 

Food For Worms shows the group maintaining what made Drunk Tank Pink so captivating while adding more of an emotional core. You have the traditional bombastic punk energy with songs like “Fingers of Steel” and “Six-Pack.” When the band slows down, the album takes an interesting and unexpected turn. “Adderall” is exactly what it sounds like, a slow and intense burn about an individual that feels they can only operate on the drug. What really hammers the point home is Steen’s almost monotone “You sold my life for me.” “Orchid” is one of the strongest songs in the band’s catalogue. Feeling like a tribute to “(Nice Dream),” the song encapsulates all the whimsy and fury that made The Bends such an Alt-Rock staple of the 90’s. 

“The Fall of Paul ” slinks into your ears but then, it evokes that strangest feelings of the Red Hot Chili Peppers “By The Way ” as Steen shouts his way out of a claustrophobic tunnel. “Different Person” loops riffs and ringing chords over a funky shifting bass line which could almost classify the song as a shame dance number, a bizarro version of Franz Ferdinand. “All the People ” is the perfect come down, and as the record is about you mates and the people you hold close then it makes sense that the album ends with what sounds like a singalong after visiting a bit to many pubs.

Adding more of an emotional core to Food For Worms is exactly what elevated it from a good record to a great record. Drunk Tank Pink showed the band had incredible musicianship and song craft. Food For Worms shows that but then adds the relatable themes of friendship and its trials and tribulations. After multiple listens this one sinks in and will definitely be seen on multiple end of the year lists. Play this one at full volume and you’ll be belting “Adderall” before you know it. 

“Six-Pack” / “Yankees” / “Orchid”

The Maccabees / Squid / Fontaines D.C.

Drunk Tank Pink (2021)

Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Bandcamp | Dead Oceans

Christopher Tahy

Fire Track: feeble little horse – “Pocket”

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