By Brie East
Album: Why Choose
Label: Fat Cat Records
Release Date: October 2, 2015
Punk music in 2015 is exciting. Bands like Downtown Boys and Sheer Mag are making massive waves in scenes across the country, and the success of festivals like Berserktown in Los Angeles have signaled that punk is not dead. Over the pond, this statement rings just as true as in the States. Groups like Joanna Gruesome and Wolf Alice are bringing female voice to the forefront of the British punk scene. Just as the bands around them, the UK trio Shopping have released their sophomore EP Why Choose, further emphasizing just how exciting this era of punk is.
Shopping draws heavily from bands like Mission of Burma and Gang of Four, bringing a post-punk sound to their music. Their songs also have a tinge of funk in them, employing dizzying bass lines and solid drums to back it up. Lead singer Rachel Aggs sings with the same attitude and ferocity as The Slits’ Ari Up. All together, the band creates an almost dystopian feel that is present on songs like “Say It Once”.
With the second song on the album “Take It Outside” about getting into fights, Shopping seems like a typical punk band, but like their post-punk predecessors before them, they are more political than meets the eye. Employing whip-smart lyrics, The band condemns capitalism in songs such as “Straight Lines”, where they say “I gave him what he wanted / My love, my life, my money / I gave him what is mine” in an almost deadpan, satirical manner.
In an interview with Stereogum, the band said that while they weren’t looking to ‘reinvent the wheel,’ they did want to explore a more moody sound in their music. Hence, songs like “Sinking Feeling” explore more personal matters. This does not affect the fun, energetic aspect of the album, which the band says is the ultimate focus when writing songs. As drummer Andrew Milk said in the interview, “we just explicitly wanted to make people dance.”