It’s been three years since the release of Shopping’s brilliantly titled debut album Consumer Complaints, and on the face of it not much has changed. As the dials of instant gratification, commodification and empty consumerism continue to edge towards giddying new levels, the east London three piece standing at the centre of the whirlwind, this time armed with new album Why Choose, asking “why wait, when it’s all on my doorstep? Why wait, when it’s in the palm of my hand? Why wait, when it’s all at my fingertips… Why choose, when I could just take it all?”
With such questions it isn’t entirely clear whether they are struggling with or embracing modern living but one thing’s for sure; they’re determined to enjoy the ride. The record sees them continue to do what they previously did well while honing their formula with a few new elements. Album opener ‘Wind up’ sets the blueprint for the following 11 tracks with its bouncing, looping bass line and hypodermic-beach guitar hook, struggling to keep up with the lo-fi disco drumbeats (if such a thing is indeed a thing). It’s a blueprint not so dissimilar from their previous release, and while the direction of the next album may be an issue, for now it’s unimportant and remains utterly addictive.
There are smatterings of synth here and there, (most prominently on ‘Take It Outside’) and a greater use of duelling, call and respond vocals. Drummer Andrew Milk provides deadpan commentary on his band mates’ excitable and extroverted tendencies (‘Straight Lines’ and ‘Private Party’ in particular), establishing a glorious juxtaposition that means you never quite know where Shopping sit – for or against? Pop or punk? It’s energetic and in your face, but by the time you have started to put your finger on what ‘it’ is, it’s over. A break-neck, post-modern venture down the aisles of garage, surf and post punk, it sounds like a secretly recorded surf album by Devo, or Delta 5 playing Supermarket Sweep. Despite this though, the band are after more than just a good time. You sense they have an agenda, but whilst we try to work out exactly what it is, we may as well just dance along.