Consumer Complaints

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Along with bassist Billy Easter's other band, Wetdog, and singer Rachel Aggs' Trash Kit, Shopping were one of a few British bands reinvigorating the kind of spiky, searching post-punk that was largely neglected in favor of a sea of Joy Division clones during the 2000s and 2010s. To be fair, the band's debut album, Consumer Complaints, makes their influences just as clear: "We Say You Pay" evokes ESG's punk-funk, while the sharp edges and taut rhythms of "Any Answers" and "Santa Monica Place" trace a lineage that extends from Delta 5 and the Au Pairs to Erase Errata. Nevertheless, they sound fresher and more passionate than many of the acts borrowing from better-known post-punk legends, in large part because they have more range than some of their contemporaries (and even some of their forebears). As Shopping move from snarling to withering to playful and back again, their music is a fascinating mix of rawness and complexity. Even on the scrappiest moments, like "Get Going" and the alternately tight and shambling "Hanover Cure," it feels like they're always in control; meanwhile, the vocal harmonies on "Right Now" pierce the song like an alarm. The band's politics have just as much depth and conviction, whether on "Theme," where the seemingly simple declarations ("Buy something/need something/want something") circle each other in increasingly sinister fashion, or on the tender-yet-bitter vignette "For Your Money," a compelling showcase for drummer Andrew Milk's vocals. Consumer Complaints also proves that Shopping have a pop side: "In Other Words" and "Long Way Home" are so catchy and direct that they're anthems for people who don't like anthems. Full of humor, anger, wit, and grit, this is an exciting debut from a band with a commanding voice.

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