The Official Body
Year of release: 2018
Throbbing bass, intertwining guitar lines, and deadpan call-and-response vocals dominate London-based Shopping's third album, The Official Body, as does political fervor. Unlike the angst of a politically-minded band like Protomartyr, however, Shopping use their post-Brexit emotions as a springboard to keep those hips moving. The results are an infectious slew of dance-punk songs; not unlike the output of The B52's, Devo, or Tom Tom Club in their rhythmic ebb and flow.
Vocalist/guitarist Rachel Aggs, bassist Billy Easter and drummer Andrew Milk create a consistent mood of head-bobbing, even as the lyrics touch on political outrage and gender identity. As a queer woman of color, Aggs layers her nimble fret work with subtle observations about fitting into a socially acceptable niche, like on "Shave Your Head", where Milk sings I can’t I can’t I can’t tell you apart before Aggs steps in with the cry of Break free/Feel frustrated.
Throughout The Official Body, there's a blend of minimalist melodies with protest consciousness, making it that rare album of emotional catharsis that never announces its self-importance. As the world burns all around us, Shopping may be proving that the resistance exists not in angry picket lines, but on a euphoric dance floor.