Premiere: LEXICON – ‘SHAME’

Words: James Frostick
Image: Jennifer Embelton

After a flurry of engaging live performances, Brisbane’s new kids on the block Lexicon are finally unleashing some long-awaited recordings. The band has quietly dropped its debut EP – the first tangible piece of Lexicon’s raucous output put to tape. Lead single ‘Shame’ is a vociferous and strong-armed piece of music that pairs a harnessed cacophony with an inward-facing lyrical scrutiny.

It’s not uncommon for new bands to pop up in Brisbane, but it’s a rare occurrence when one arrives with a fully-formed sound and focused identity. The freshest blood from the cut comes from a group called Lexicon – a four-piece unit comprised of seasoned vets (featuring members of Pleasure Symbols, Woodboot, Occults and Babaganouj) that are bringing a bit of swagger and style to Brisbane’s punk scene with their driving, uninhibited aggression. The group’s emergence was quiet for a band that makes this kind of noise, yet this understated approach was born from a sensible methodology. Lexicon’s early catalogue has been forged and honed in the live-performance crucible over the past few months, where tracks were sharpened into a fine point, making it easier for the band to nail it down in recording. The waiting period is over – patience has been rewarded. Lexicon’s first EP has arrived, but to give you a concise idea of what to expect, I’m having a look at ‘Shame’. Rest assured, the EP makes good on the band’s live promise.


‘Shame’ breaks silence and opens with a light feedback squall – a suitably piercing entrance quickly followed by a chugging bass throb and a quick-stepping drum beat. It’s this grounded anchoring that keeps Lexicon’s sound tethered throughout – a stable platform for the guitar to sway from smooth sear to frenetic fit to buzzing gale across the track’s two-and-a-half minute run time. Vocalist Phoebe Sheehy places herself in the epicentre of this activity, bracing herself against the roar and contributing her own – shouting herself hoarse in a way that’s only possible when one’s own genuine pains are imbued with the utterance.

Here, Phoebe is scrutinising her own mindset, analysing her behaviours and coming to terms with long-suspected truths. In ‘Shame’, Phoebe is acknowledging a need to extricate herself from a situation that has long failed to produce desired results. A relationship, a project, an attitude – Phoebe has realised that there’s not enough time to dwell on it and must therefore let it go, despite it being “such a shame, such a terrible shame.” This is a relatable facet of being, and one that many fail to rationalise within themselves.

Debuts are rarely this composed, so consider this a great first impression. Lexicon will be heading south for some shows in Melbourne this month, with two shows in June. The first is on June 16 at The Post Office Hotel with Product, while the second on June 17 will take place at the Grace Darling Hotel with support from Product, Polish and Body Maintenance.