Shopping is all about dancing out their frustrations. Catchy and direct, they make punk music that’s never heavy-handed or overly political. Exploring themes of consumerism, queer relationships and body image over bright riffs and visuals of pool parties and pink flamingos, the London trio has always favored subtlety over didacticism.
Their third full-length album, The Official Body, is no different. Ten danceable tracks feature angular bass lines and surf-rock-like guitar riffs, daring the listener not to dance along. For 31 minutes, they can be free from trivial stress and just have fun listening to the confident, buoyant dance-punk. The first track, “The Hype,” features primitive drums and restless guitars behind the energetic chanting “Last chance! / Don’t believe! / Ask questions!” Songs like “Discover” and “Wild Child” dip into newer territory for the band, incorporating synth and drum pad. Across sounds new and old, Shopping maintains a humorous ethos, refusing to take themselves too seriously.
Refraining from politics may not seem characteristic of a punk or post-punk band – in fact it’s pretty unusual. Underneath shadows of particularly turbulent politics both in the US and the UK, bands like IDLES and Protomartyr have steered into it instead of distancing themselves from it. In a press release, vocalist and guitarist Rachel Aggs said “It just felt like making ‘political’ music was a bit like putting a tiny band aid on an enormous wound.” Instead of trying to fix the world’s problems in a 30-minute album, Shopping focuses on making fun, danceable music, and The Official Body does exactly that.
By Jordan Smith