The cover of The Official Body, the hypnotic and energizing new album from British post-punk trio Shopping, is a picture of a swimming pool, with an inflatable plastic alligator floating atop chlorine-blue water. The alligator itself, though, is almost entirely out of the frame; instead, its shadow stands at the center of the shot, at the bottom of the pool as the alligator grins smugly from above. It is the perfect encapsulation of what Shopping does with their pointed guitars, relentless percussion, and bouncy bass—that is, they reflect the shadowy, menacing threat that our haughty reptilian nature poses, despite its crooked grin and seemingly benign buoyancy. That isn’t to say that Shopping is going to hit you over the head with messages about how modern life is oh-so-bad. You can dance to this and never once get hung up on whatever dreary prospects the latest headline offers. They call it “disco-not-disco,” an apt descriptor for the way this tightly composed trio cuts out everything but the bones of their music. Guitars whittle away at carefully sculpted riffs. Vocals move between classic calls and responses. Drums urge everything ahead. Instead of devolving into anger, Shopping seems to suggest, turn your gripes into tunes you and your friends want to dance to. If it’s too late for a post-punk revolution, it’s certainly not too late to straighten up and dance the angst away.
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