The Official Body
uk post-punk trio shopping throw the revolution a dance party on the defiant ‘the official body’
By Nathan Leigh
January 26, 2018
Shopping’s music has always had an undercurrent of dancing to keep the bullshit at bay, but in the space between 2015’s Why Choose and now, that’s become basically impossible. Their latest The Official Body instead tries to make sure the revolution remembers to dance.
Singer Rachel Aggs described lead single “The Hype” as “a wake up call” to question everything and get involved wrapped up in “a party song.” That mission statement carries over to everything, where the post-punk power trio’s nervous dance beats pulse beneath tales of alienation and calls to undermine the dominant power structures. “This is such a simple thing/You don’t like me/I don’t look like you,”Aggs sings on the album highlight “My Dad’s A Dancer,” cutting sharply to the bone through the band’s typically labyrinthine verses and oblique shout-alongs. On “Suddenly Gone,” Aggs criticizes a scene that leaves her “feeling used and undervalued as a queer and/or person of colour making music or art.” The insistent beat never lets up as the band seems determined to dance on anyway.
Shopping notably expands their sonic palette to include driving synth lines, congas, and cowbells without ever coming off as “overproduced.” Their sharp minimalist sound instead envelops the new elements, particularly on the conflicted “Wild Child,” where Aggs explores the tension in the facade that often makes up such a large part of queer icons identities. ““I was specifically thinking about the way some drag queens do this really well, it’s about projecting the persona of someone who is always free, always partying and you can’t imagine them ever worrying about their work rota or buying cereal. It’s important to see through it, to know it’s fake but at the same time, it’s so intriguing and seductive. I think this anarchic, flamboyant spirit is really important to queer culture.”
The Official Body is out now on CD and vinyl from FatCat Records.
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