December 6, 2007

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Shocking Pinks, Shocking Pinks
Astralwerks Records, Sept. 25
This late entry was a stowaway on an Astralwerks care package that included the new Air Traffic LP, which doesnít hit stores until February. Untested new albums are scarcer than Nintendo Wiis this time of year, so I had three choices: review this, which is old news; review one of the 10 billion Compost releases that Iíve been ignoring for months now (Iím on Ultraís promo list, so why pretend to be engrossed in unusable Euro-tech acts like Jazzanova?); or do a high-school-book-report-style snoozer on a best-of or live album, which is all thatís been coming out.

For once, luck shone. By going with the most interesting-looking thing (pretty much anyone would give a band called Shocking Pinks at least 15 seconds to make their case) I can now atone for the Bill Buckner I pulled last year by tossing Cold War Kidsí Robbers and Cowards on the Teensy Bit Too Late To Review stack instead of doing my job and writing it up months before every natural-born-hipster on earth started wearing Cold War Kids tee shirts.

Like Robbers and Cowards, Shocking Pinks is made of parts youíve heard before, but taken as a whole itís a jaw-dropper. Nick Harteís absinthe-drowned voice synchs perfectly with the musicís paisley drone, blurry shoegaze guitars and New Order-like rubber-band bass, but thereís a depth to all of it that can only be described anecdotally ó for me, it was like hearing early Cure tunes for the first time, minimalism gone wild. Very nice surprise here. . A ó E. W. S.