It seems like only a few days ago that we were talking about Shopping. Last time I around, I wrote this post that sort of admitted that I liked the band's stuff even if I cynically doubted their approach. Why Choose, out Friday on Fat-Cat Records, is a quick update on the band's previous album with the fire snuffed out a bit in favor of more nuanced explorations of mood and rhythm.
By all rights, this should be a miserable failure but the 3 members of Shopping so thoroughly commit to this sort of updating of The Slits that the album works. "Say It Once" bears traces of The Raincoats and even Talking Heads in its groove and the band are to be applauded at melding those two separate styles into something this direct and piercing. If nothing else, one can say that nothing overstays its welcome here; the tunes breeze -- or, rather, bounce -- by in a flurry of aggro vocals and pumping beats.
On the percolating "Why Wait", Shopping urgently channel the sort of ska rhythm that The Specials wouldn't have been entirely unhappy with and add in a plucked guitar figure that keeps the song bopping along. On the album, Shopping run the serious risk of the songs all sort of sounding the same next to each other but I promise you that if you take a track like this off the record and place it on a mix-CD -- or whatever the hell the kids do these days with mixes -- you'll be rewarded as a listener with a blast of something fresh and invigorating.
The very real problem with Shopping is that they've really entirely committed to recreating the sort of music and ethos of bands like The Slits and The Raincoats. But, on the flip, the very best thing about Shopping is also how much they've committed to this. If one is honest, one has to admit that the results here are not entirely original -- not really at all if you know anything by The Slits -- but at least the results are buoyantly consistent. There's real fire here even if the overall product is not in any way new. It's all well and good to become a fan of Shopping -- I encourage it, really -- but by all means please go get some Slits records too.
Follow Shopping on their official Facebook page.
Why Choose by Shopping will be out on Friday.