U.K. post-punk trio Shopping stays sharp on ‘The Official Body’

Annie Zaleski

Four stars

Shopping The Official Body

Shopping has quietly become one of the most exciting bands to emerge from the U.K. during the past few years. Each member of the pogoing post-punk trio—guitarist Rachel Aggs, bassist Billy Easter and drummer Andrew Milk—contributes vocals, albeit with a twist: Instead of joining forces for multi-part harmonies, the three stick to brittle solo vocals or braid shouted exhortations into a sharp-cornered jumble.

The danger, of course, is that such an approach can become monochromatic or repetitive. Thankfully, Shopping’s third album, The Official Body, avoids this trap. Produced by Edwyn Collins, the record pairs its nods to clipped disco, post-punk and no wave with vibrant synths. A dull keyboard buzz saturates the Siouxsie and the Banshees-caliber goth-pop highlight “Discover,” while robotic keyboard warbles careen throughout the Doppler-dub of “New Values.”

The Official Body’s pointed political, social and personal statements match this stringent vibe. “Control Yourself” begins with a thick, humid bassline before accelerating into a contorted song where Milk chants, “Hate yourself/Create yourself/Control yourself/And own yourself.” Aggs is even more forward on the corrugated calisthenics of “Asking for a Friend,” she wonders aloud, “Where will I go to find some peace?/Why’s it so hard to know what I need?/Why is it never enough to satisfy me?” Neither she nor Shopping have all the answers—but The Official Body/ is a riotous guide to figuring it out.

Tags: Music, Album
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