Why Choose is the sophomore album coming from UK rock band Shopping. From cover to cover, this album is a surf rock, post-punk love letter. To put it bluntly, it sounds like the instrumentals of early ’80s Cure was plucked and wrung clean into crisp instrumentation before sprinkled with more socially relevant lyrics. That’s a good thing. In the vein of other post-punk acts out there today like The Drums or The Slits, a return to a much more simplistic sound allows for the sound to revert back farther in the genre to that creates a more tangible bridge between the days of early punk (i.e. bands like the Ramones, The Clash) and New Wave-era sound (i.e. Joy Division, Echo and The Bunnymen).
This album is noticeably more upbeat than that of Shopping’s debut album, Consumer Complaints. The production on Why Choose turns away from the more popular lo-fi vocals found so constantly in the post-punk revival and grinds into a catchy, rhythmic chant through each song that gets you singing before too long. Starting with “Wind Up,” Shopping warms your ears up and sets an overall tone for the rest of the album that allows for effortless song flow. The punk will eventually grow a little more sensitive and socially charged as the meanings of songs shift from the traditional punk-rock drawl of “Take it Outside,” to “Why Wait?” that centers more around the futility of an internet-based society.
All three band members contribute to the album but noticeable is the attitude of Rachel Aggs, the female lead, who has nailed her trade. The simplicity of the instrumentation adds greatly to the ability to switch between the bassist, guitarist, and drummer’s chance to throw in vocals. As most post-punk bands did so proficiently, they use the trifecta of a bass, guitar, and drum-set to create three-minute thumpers. If you have any interest in the likes of bands like Gang of Four, Eagles, or ESG, this album is highly recommended.
Recommended If You Like: The Drums, The Cure, Joy Division, Eagulls, ESG, Viet Cong, The Slits
Recommended Tracks: 2 (Take it Outside), 3 (Straight Lines), 7 (Why Wait), 10 (I Have Decided)
Do Not Play: None
Written by Dylan Fox on 10/06/15