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Shopping (UK): Why Choose *

Track List

>Wind Up
>Take It Outside
>Straight Lines
>Time Wasted
>Say It Once
>No Show
>Why Wait?
>Private Party
>Sinking Feeling
>I Have Decided

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he band remains in constant conversation: sparring and making up the whole way through, maneuvering through every beat and groovy bass line with mathematical precision."

Spin - "[The album] boasts speak-shout vocals, punk-funk bass lines, and clipped guitar riffs, all rendered with impressive precision and a retro-cool approach."

NME (Magazine) - "[T]he London trio's second full-length is a breakneck, open-eared, positivist post-punk canter."

Album Notes

Personnel: Rachel Aggs (vocals, guitar); Andrew Milk (vocals, drums); Billy Easter (vocals).

Audio Mixer: Jamie Grier.

Recording information: Green Door Studios, Glasgow (12/2014-01/2015).

Editor: Shopping .

Arranger: Shopping .

If the original crop of post-punk bands often had trouble sounding vital for more than one album, then the pressure on bands continuing the style is even more intense. Not only do they have to be creative in their own right, but they also have to avoid seeming too derivative of their influences. On their second album, Why Choose, Shopping -- who have gotten the thumbs-up from the likes of ESG and Gang of Four -- build on the grander tradition of post-punk as well as their own approach to it. They do so in a very post-punk fashion: by further stripping down their music. While they're as brash and wry as they were on Consumer Complaints on songs like the opening track "Wind Up" and "Why Wait?" (which also makes keen observations on how creative works -- and people -- are treated in the 2010s), Shopping spend most of Why Choose trading their debut's sparks for a leaner, more considered attack. This economy, coupled with an ever-so-slightly cleaner sound, spotlights the trio's interplay; the intensity of "Say It Once" and "Take It Outside" makes it easy to hear why Sleater-Kinney picked Shopping as tourmates. Despite these outbursts, Why Choose is notably more somber than Consumer Complaints, with the band transforming frustration and heartache into songs that are more direct, and more complex, than anything on their debut. Drummer Andrew Milk's regret is almost palpable on "Straight Lines," while lyrics such as "She's only teasing/But I'm sleeping with the fishes" make "Sinking Feeling" sad, witty, and urgent at the same time. Even if Shopping aren't quite as spontaneous and engaging here as they were on Consumer Complaints, where every loose end and raw nerve was a gateway into the band's world, Why Choose can't be called a slump. Instead, Shopping make listeners lean in and pay close attention, proving along the way that they don't have to choose between tradition and growth to make a strong second album. ~ Heather Phares


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