Shopping have always proved that music doesn’t always have to be pushing new boundaries to be artistically valid, like on the London trio’s third album, which is firmly grounded in the post-punk energy of The Slits and The Raincoats. Yet, as an artist like LoneLady picks up on similar influences and modernises them with synths, Billy Easter’s propulsive bass lines sound strangely contemporary, here.
Tightly compressed and structurally flab-free, these ten songs flirt with a hip twitching form of primitive disco. This is overlaid with the sharp guitar lines of The Cure (‘Asking For A Friend’), ’80s dark wave synth (‘Wild Child’), and tantalising signposts to dub (‘New Values’).
The lyrics are equally condensed, repeating or gently inverting phrases that are an ad-man’s dream of depersonalisation and isolation. “You’re lonely and desperate,” accuses guitarist Rachel Aggs over a fat bass synth on ‘Discover’. “I’m not lonely. I’m fine,” replies drummer Andrew Milk, his voice muffled and distant to suggest that he is lonely and isn’t fine.
The pair remain in constant conversation throughout, even finishing one another’s sentences on ‘Control Yourself’. Starting with a bass line that sounds like it fell out of Kim Deal’s Pixies outtakes, Aggs intones “we are” while Milk iterates “disposable“.
If they are disposable then they share X-Ray Spex’s view of consumerism, countering the artifice with songs that are defiantly alive.