Book of Shame is a mysterious group that channels the enigmatic and artistic natures of musicians like David Bowie and Talking Heads, and mixes it with an unapologetic fringe-punk sound reminiscent of The Velvet Underground. Their most recent release, Compatibility, is like an unforgettable LSD trip through time and space, that’s as lucid as it is alluringly ambiguous.
Compatibility has an indescribable yet familiar vibe to it that’s present from its opening notes all the way to the very end of this nearly five minute long track. To simply describe it as psychedelic doesn’t do Book of Shame justice, as they expertly mix genres and layer track upon track of intricate melodies to create a lush soundscape that engulfs the listener. Instruments and melodic structures that seem like they would be competing against one another, and sound almost chaotic on their own, somehow come together and work in effortless harmony in Compatibility.
The track kicks off with electric guitar arpeggios that border on the line of folk music as it mimics a banjo in both style and sound. This interestingly provides a foundation for Book of Shame’s almost blasé vocals to hit the listener in a very intimate way – whether they welcome it or not. The track builds nicely from there, bringing in the back-beat all the while constantly playing around the core rhythms and melodies established at the beginning of the record. Everything comes to a head during the last minute when an intense guitar solo rips through the track, seemingly out of nowhere.
Compatibility is an experience to listen through, and one definitely worth taking on. Book of Shame has crafted an incredibly unique piece of art that defies genre limitations to exist simply as music for its own sake.