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Saturday, February 24th, 2024  

All or Nothing


Feb 24, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Shopping is more than just Rachel Aggs, but it comes as no surprise to find the British post-punk trio’s fourth record opening on her distinctive guitar work. She plays with a glorious sharpness, fluidly precise, jarring without turning discordant. The best Shopping tracks tap into this, letting Aggs build a taut framework she then proceeds to dance over like a child avoiding cracks in the pavement.

Dance is the operative word across this tight 30-minute release, synths entering the spartan mix in an even more prominent way. This isn’t the post-punk revival going disco, but it might be post-punk on a night out at the disco. Billy Easter’s bass is still a deeper mirror of Aggs guitar and Andrew Milk’s drums stay close by, incorporating a vibrating synth sound that adds to their body of work without overpowering.

Of course, they still sound their best when they sound like themselves, as All or Nothing‘s highlights reveal. Nothing tops “Expert Advice,” a thrillingly stylish song marrying relentless momentum and melody, the kind of thing that would have given peak Gang of Four a run for their money. The propulsion of “Body Clock” does something similar while “No Apologies” bores straight into the head, showcasing their tag team approach to vocals.

Ultimately it’s all over a little too quickly, the good times coming and going in a flash, sometimes a little too predictably. The vocals repeat “what you see is what you get” around the halfway point, a slightly too apt summary. But only slightly. Being yourself is hardly an impediment when Shopping’s self sounds like this. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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