The Official Body is the third album by London post punk trio Shopping. It follows on from 2013’s Consumer Complaints and 2015’s Why Choose. The band were initially signed to Milk records, a label run by the band’s rhythm section, Andrew Milk and Billy Easter. They were quickly snapped up by Fat Cat Records, a label they’ve called home ever since.
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Shopping's third album sees them living in different parts of the country making the kind of improvised post-punk that they previously excelled at more difficult to construct. Their music does sound like it was collaborated on in a dark basement room with a leaking tap. But being apart from each other hasn't dimmed the kinetic energy this band possess, their wriggling bass lines, taut guitar and tight drumming patterns exist as if one single entity.
The opening couple of tracks show a much more dance orientated sound as if they'd been swallowing up all those Liquid Liquid and Tom Tom Club records. Don't get me wrong, Shopping are always rhythmic but these tracks seem more interested in getting the party started than providing melodic earworms. That's why third track 'Asking For A Friend' is so good. This is expertly made post punk with just a hint of softness in the vocals to counteract all those sinewy guitar lines.
They are good at what they do but I imagine they'd be even better live. This is the perfect sort of thing to dance to in a sweaty co-operatively run club after all the vegan wraps have been cleared up. I've been dithering between a 7 and 8 for this. I think it's a 7.5. The tracks aren't quite as memorable as some of their early work but it's still a blast of driving rhythms and innovative new wave sounds expertly put together. Towards the end 'New Values' reminds me of their excellence. Somewhere between The Slits and Siouxie and the Banshees it is angry and brash with really neat dub effects. Pretty damn good.
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