Shopping push the wiry postpunk sound of early 80s Britain into the present | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Shopping push the wiry postpunk sound of early 80s Britain into the present

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With The Official Body (FatCat), the third album of tuneful, wiry, and crudely funky postpunk from British trio Shopping, the group have maintained their foothold on a sound that's nearly four decades old while sounding more contemporary than on past material. Producer Edwyn Collins—who once covered vaguely similar terrain in his Scottish pop band Orange Juice—expertly accentuates the rudimentary postdisco grooves of drummer Andrew Milk, the rude yet propulsive bass lines of Billy Easter, and the scratchy guitar licks of front woman Rachel Aggs with a straightforwardness that lends the music extra frantic urgency. Over their career, Shopping have slowly but surely developed a greater melodic sophistication and have slightly expanded their timbre, which shows in elements like the needling synthesizers on "Discover." While Aggs hasn’t abandoned her distinct clipped style of hectoring, she's never done so more tunefully. On "Asking for a Friend," which carries traces of early B-52s, she expresses existential dissatisfaction over a galloping beat, and on "Overtime," which closes the album with a potential emotional release, she answers her own mounting relationship confusion, singing triumphantly, "Think I finally found a way out."   v

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