Body Stories

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An even smarter and more uncompromising set of songs than Shoplifting's self-titled EP, the band's debut full-length, Body Stories, expands on their sound and attitude. Shades of Slant 6 and Sonic Youth can still be heard in their music (particularly in the dark tangles of guitar on "What About a Word?"), but Shoplifting takes advantage of having an album's worth of songs in which to hone their originality. "Male Gynecology," for example, uses dense but not exactly hard-hitting guitars and drums to underscore the uneasy feeling of lyrics like "Open wide to my own gynecology/There's no shame if the self-exam is bloody." Chris Pugmire and Hannah Billie's dual boy-girl vocals remain one of the band's greatest strengths, particularly on the album opener, "M. Sally." On paranoid, hypnotic tracks like "Talk of the Town" and "Cover to Cover," Shoplifting plays with ideas about music and society with enough wit to keep them far from pretension. And though the band is more than accomplished on moody pieces such as the instrumental "Flying Factory" and the spooky-sexy final track, "Claude Glass," they really excel at loud, fearless punk like "Illegalists" and "Syncope Riders." Equal parts brains and brawn, Body Stories finds Shoplifting growing into their possibilities.

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