South London post-punks Shame don’t just compose songs – they write stories. Their music is visceral but also intellectually stimulating – twisted tales, vignettes on life and part-political grandstanding.

Take their epic Angie, described by singer Charlie Steen as “a dark love story”.

He says: “A guy is in love with this girl at a young age and she kills herself but he’s still feeling so much love towards her.”

It builds from a gentle three-note intro to a towering conclusion that distils the beauty, pain and darkness of the story behind it.

Another song, Visa Vulture, an attack on Theresa May’s policy on immigration is described by Steen as “the worst love song ever”.

“We are trying to capture a moment that has yet to cease – something that is ongoing and developing,” he goes on, summarising the band’s drive and motivation. “It is something that is honest in a lot of ways.”

In the almost four years they have been together, Shame have acquired a reputation as one of the most thrilling new bands in the UK, and Oxford music fans are wise to them. Their show at the Bullingdon on April 19 has long been sold-out.

Formed by Steen and his schoolmates Sean Coyle-Smith (guitar), Eddie Green (guitar), Charlie Forbes (drums) and Josh Finerty (bass), they came together after finishing their AS levels in 20014, forming in a practice space at the infamous Queen’s Head in Brixton – also home to freewheeling chaos-mongers The Fat White Family.

“We kind of just took refuge there,” says Forbes. “The Fat Whites didn’t really know we existed for a while until we started using their stuff as we didn’t have any instruments.”

He says it opened their eyes to whole new ways of life – with few rules. “You could do whatever you wanted there,” recalls Steen. “Nothing was off limits.”

By Christmas 2014 they got their first headline show at The Windmill, also in Brixton, and soon had their own regular night, at which they handpicked three other bands to join them – while rubbing shoulders with the likes of Goat Girl, Shark Dentist, Sorry and the Dead Pretties.

They also landed a series of support slots. First with California punk band The Garden – where they played their first run of shows outside of London – and then with The Fat White Family, with whom they played Ireland for the first time.

They have also toured with Slaves and Warpaint.

A defining moment was their 2016 show at The Great Escape in Brighton, where they were threatened with a bill for £700 for damage to a venue after a triumphant set.

“I tore down a chandelier by swinging on it Adam & The Ants-style,” admits Steen.

Thanks to an admirer in the crowd, however, it also earned them a date in Paris and their first live TV appearance – on France’s Le Grand Journal.

“It was so surreal doing live TV,” says Forbes.

“But that was the moment it dawned on us that we might be onto something.”

While on tour with Slaves, they released their debut single – The Lick / Gold Hole.

Recorded and produced by Dan Foat and Nathan Boddy, they would go on to do Tasteless, the band’s second single, in March 2017 and record their debut album Songs of Praise, out now on Dead Oceans and an early contender for album of the year.

But, for Forbes, the most important thing is to make an impression.

“We have always wanted people to talk about the show after they have watched us,” he says. “If you are talking about it we have done something right.”

The album was recorded at the Rockfield studios in Wales, with 10 tracks cut in 10 days. With a run time of 39 minutes, it is a mission statement of this urgent young band.

“We wanted our first album to be concise and to the point,” says Steen. “No nonsense.”

First single Concrete is “about someone who’s trapped in a relationship and they’re being pummelled into surrender” says Steen hitting on its theme of self-doubt and assurance.

Lead single One Rizla, meanwhile, is about embracing insecurities. It’s something which Steen says he knows all about, since the band’s first live shows, at which he would take off his shirt off and get right into the crowd.

Tasteless shows Shame’s latent pop sensibility, a tightly wound rallying cry against creeping conformity.

“It is looking at what effect indifference can have on a person and if you’re willing to move forward or if you’re stuck on certain smaller issues,” says Steen.

Live favourite Gold Hole, meanwhile, leans heavily on a sense of disquiet – steadily building, dropping down to a sinister pant, before finally erupting in a frenzy.

“It’s the debate about the difference between exploitation and empowerment,” says Steen.

“It’s looking at sexual labour through a stereotypical tabloid perspective.”

“None of these stories are fabricated, “ he goes on. “They are all, unfortunately, true.”

Shame play The Bullingdon, Oxford, on April 19.

The show has sold out.

Album Songs of Praise is out now