While not necessarily groundbreaking within the post punk scene, “Drunk Tank Pink” serves as a batch of tracks that are still rather refined, a balanced mix between high-octane performances and ones than lean more towards a mellow and gloomy approach, in old punk fashion.
The year has just started and the genre that has been dominating thus far is punk, we’ve already gotten two records that are appreciable but this one sticks out much more in comparison to the Viagra Boys’ work, which released last week, as even if they overlap in nearly every categorization that both fall under, the band shame’s attempt is a much more bold one in virtually any direction you look from, as there is a lot more diversity and a display of more audacious ideas sprinkled throughout “Drunk Tank Pink”.
Ever since the listener is presented with the album’s cover art, it is rather obvious that this is going to be an effort that pursues to touch deeply in its songwriting and that does not fall flat much often since the main vocalist is bestowing us with self-reflective lyricism and tracks that only match the quick escalation that happens with the production in their lyrics, as with each one’s progression, the songwriting begins to advance and gradually cover more pertinent topics.
This is truly the first time in 2021 in which I may have felt that I was listening to something great, even if that sentiment didn’t exactly prosper throughout the entire runtime of the record, as I discerned that not all the eleven songs that are arranged on “Drunk Tank Pink” carry the same caliber. Anyhow, this is the first effort that I’ve listened to in the current year that I thought brought a relevant proposition upon the respective genre’s landscape, while concurrently arraying a collection of tunes that are compatible within the same work.
This band is not particularly cutting edge but it’s only their identity that makes them stand out in their field, as whether it is the vocalist’s memorable presentations heard throughout the project or the instrumentation that is extremely versatile, covering a vast exhibition of styles that vary from being sparkling, vaguely noisy or tuneful all while mustering the emotional potency of the album, it still screams shame, if that make sense, it is instantly recognizable in its most important compartments. As opposed to the Viagra Boys’ record last week, for example, in which I thought the production was incredible but the vocalist lacked, shame bring both into the same package and neither leave much to desire in comparison to one and other, so I was only surprised to come to the conclusion that my overall enjoyment of the two doesn’t differ much, as something such as the congruity of this body of work may be lacking, in my opinion.
“Drunk Tank Pink” only unveils a reinforcement of music being simultaneously rowdy and catchy, as the band does not give up its accessibility in a considerable manner for the stylistic choices taken. The hook segment is consistently punchy and momentous for their own good, fusing another element into their more despondent lyrical and sonic display that strays away a tad from the most notorious trends within the contemporaries they are most likely matched up against.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t exactly qualify as something that I would refer to as “great” in the grand scheme of things, I would consider that this release can become a little grating after a bit, as the significant song ideas proposed in its primary length don’t really persist to its back end, forming some rather unneeded cuts, namely the long-winded and unexpectedly in its essence spoken “Station Wagon”.
Generally, I welcome more records like this in 2021 going forward. Notable, dramatic, vigorous, dominant and dynamic are some adjectives that come to mind when trying to describe it accurately, I only think it may partly falter in diving deeper into some themes.
Favorite tracks: Alphabet, Nigel Hitter, Born in Luton, March Day, Water in the Well, Snow Day, Human, for a Minute and Harsh Degrees.
Least favorite tracks: Station Wagon.