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First Play: Shopping, The Official Body

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Holly Gordon

London, U.K., band Shopping is back with a third album of its post-punk dance music, ready to lure you with the rhythm of its deceptively tempoed political songs.

With the title The Official Body, Shopping members Rachel Aggs (guitar, vocals), Billy Easter (bass, vocals) and Andrew Milk (drums, vocals) are playing with the idea of — and challenging — official bodies of power, as well as what society defines as an officially acceptable body.

“The Hype,” the band’s first single from the album, has a video to match the latter theme, with pool-party attendees of varying ages and bodies cannon-balling and singing along with Shopping’s noodly guitar and grooving bass lines. With this third release, Shopping used synth-bass and drum pads along with its usual drum-bass-guitar setup, adding to its party sound.

The band clearly wants its fans to have fun, but while The Official Body has the feel of a summer album, its lyrical heft is perfectly timed for 2018’s political and personal climate.

“Would you notice/ when I’m suddenly gone?” Aggs asks on frenetic track “Suddenly Gone,” a song that she said, via press release, is referring to “feeling used and undervalued as a queer and/or person of colour making music or art.” On the short, grimy track “Discover,” Aggs sings, “Discover/ next Wednesday/ you’re still lonely/ still desperate,” teasing out the words “lonely” and adding a harsh whisper to “desperate,” as Milk distantly responds with “I’m not lonely/ I’m fine.” The social dissonance is palpable in every corner of the song, an echo of that unwelcome voice in your head, putting you down instead of building you up. At a time when it feels as important as ever to support and save space for others, The Official Body is an apt album to release.

The Official Body will be released Jan. 19. Pre-order it via Bandcamp, iTunes or FatCat Records.