"It feels like it's about time," shame frontman Charlie Steen tells Apple Music. "We've waited a long while, and when COVID hit and everything, we didn't have everything together in the way that we wanted. And we wanted to launch this campaign properly. We basically didn't want to rush it. And there was a lot more important things going on in the world." The South London quintet's sophomore effort distills the abrasive nature from 2018's Songs of Praise and takes a darker, more contemplative look into the night befores and morning afters.
Tracks like "Alphabet" and "Great Dog" are still restless in style, with Steen maniacally shouting till his voice goes coarse, while funky post-punk numbers like "Nigel Hitter" and "Water in the Well" show off guitarist Sean Coyle-Smith's venture into reevaluating how he wrote this album's guitar parts. But it's the quieter, pensive moments on Drunk Tank Pink ("Human, for a Minute" and the six-and-a-half-minute closer "Station Wagon") that exemplify shame's growth as musicians and people, with "Snow Day" defining the album's central theme of wrestling with the past while preparing for an uncertain future. "With Songs of Praise, the story and the narrative is there. We were school kids from South London, who went to a pub at The Queens Head, through Charlie our drummer's dad," explains Steen. "Whereas with this one, we weren't 18 anymore. It was almost like that was at school age and now we're at uni age."