Modern Problem

Our Shame

Modern Problem

In soundscapes that intertwine folk guitar and synths, Our Shame illuminate moments of beauty found in the intersection of technology and humanity. The Taiwan-based duo—singer-songwriter Estelle H and drummer Isan—made a splash online in 2018 with “Richard”, a rumbling engine-powered tribute to the dreams of a man who stole an empty passenger plane from a Seattle airport. Their 2022 debut album Modern Problem digs further into dreams of escape and connection. In folktronica and downtempo tracks that adroitly weave glitch and ambient techno elements with acoustic instruments, they explore the fragility of relationships—both personal and professional. One thematic thread is post-industrial estrangement, from wage slaves droning through the icy beats of “Ghost Workers” to the endless bus rides of frustrated jobseekers evoked by the glitchy samples of “Hotel 22”. On “Claire”, retro synths soundtrack a whirlwind romance—too sensitive for social media—that succumbs to career aspirations, while “PDF”, a guitar-driven synthwave track with production work from alt-R&B phenom The Crane, paints a cautionary image of memories abandoned to the cloud. The artists’ trepidation is summed up in the title track over a pulsing bassline from neo-soul artist LINION: “It kinda feels like you’re mine/Wish I could have it offline.” Is genuine belonging possible in a screen-mediated age? The acoustic pop and bedroom production vibes of album closer “party to the moon” offer reassurance: “You’ll find someone who stays for you.” Besides, the emotional resonance of Our Shame’s beats and melodies is proof enough that cold tech can give rise to human warmth.

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