Arndales - Shops

Arndales – Shops (Album)

Arndales - ShopsIt’s sobering to think that every time you enter a supermarket you’re not just entering a big room with goods in it, you’re also entering a form of Skinner box designed to maximise your spend through irrational decisions. Teams of people are employed by all large concerns to manipulate consumer choices via a myriad of marketing tricks that semi-subconsciously direct our behaviour towards the desired end, an increase in the share price of whatever company. What’s wrong with that you might ask, it’s just business. But ask a farmer, or ask a Bangladeshi factory worker or, if they could talk, a Chicken and you might get a different answer.

Not only have Arndales managed to write an album that effectively gets these complex ideas across in the most economical way possible, they have also written an album that, musically, doesn’t put a foot wrong. Each song is a perfectly realised slice of vitriol aimed squarely at the hypocrisy and superficiality of consumer culture, with main vocalist Anthony Chapman throwing each word and inflection out like so many iron bars. The music is tight and focussed while also being chaotic and broken. Discord abounds over Andy Kingstons relentless pounding drums, the guitar work is flawless, Leighton Crooks bass drives and thuds and Andy Whitings keys swirl and growl.

There’s a lot of Fall influence here, particularly on one of my favourite tracks ‘Broken Song with Vocals’, ‘sung’ with shameless and vicious abandon by Crook but this is not pastiche, it takes the scattergun precision of Mark E Smiths vision and refines it, taking the best aspects from that inheritance and turning them back on the listener. It is noise terrorism at its best. All killer, no filler.

10 amazing tracks, 30 glorious minutes. This record has everything; social commentary, whip smart songwriting and noise noise noise.