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Album Review: Shame Spiral by USA Nails

UK noise punks USA Nails release their third album, Shame Spiral, on 16th June through French DIY stalwarts Bigout Records and one of London’s newest and most exciting underground labels, Hominid Sounds. Their desire to record live, and the instinctive and straightforward way in which they approach writing and recording has resulted in a fiercely compelling record that is as endearing as it is primitive.

No less loud, brash or direct as their previous album, No Pleasure, Shame Spiral brilliantly captures the band’s descent into the dark depths that their beloved post-punk, noise-rock and no-wave predecessors often probed. Their brand of sarcastic musings compliments this stark aesthetic with rants on London house prices, unrealistic aspirational reality television, charity shop vinyl hoardersu, Kraftwerk and the gun toting Phil Spector.

If you’re familiar with USA Nails then you’ll find Shame Spiral to be their most expansive and experimental to date. Conversely if you’re new to USA Nails then prepare to have your world fucked up. USA Nails are the antithesis to the norm. They do what they want, how they want. It’s a barrage of noisey and discordant punk that in theory shouldn’t work but comes together wonderfully.

Like much of USA Nails previous work it’s not an album you’ll fall in love with immediately. It takes time and a little perseverance. While it’s not for the faint hearted or casual listener, Shame Spiral is an album that ends up being extremely entertaining and enthralling. From the opening bursts of ‘What Is The Price?’ through to the stunning closer ‘Eisbaer’ this an album that surprises and bursts into new life on each listen.

‘Interchangeable Sister’ and ‘Celebrity Carpet’ are stunning tracks with the latter coming in as a completely fucked up version of Sonic Youth. ‘Does Format Matter?’ has the feel of a grumpy old man rant while ‘Play It Again Johnny’ is a visceral and enthralling trip through noise punk. Closing tracks ‘University Home’ and ‘Eisbaer’ are especially good and if you’re going to dip in make these your go to tracks.

AD Rating 7.75/10

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