The debut album from New Zealand band Shocking Pinks is, in a word, charming. Signed to ultra-hip label DFA, home of The Rapture and LCD Soundsystem, the one-man band of Nick Harte has certainly found a home among the dance pop crowd. Closely following Harte’s career since his first album in 2005, DFA wanted to bring Harte’s work to a more international crowd. The label amalgamated Harte’s first two records into the re-mastered 17-track compilation we have today.
This latest effort is rife with languid, hazy, bitter-sweet love songs and melancholy melodies. Merging droning riffs and dance-accessible rhythms with poignant, sometimes existential lyrics, Shocking Pinks easily re-imagine the shoegaze/noisepop workings of bands like My Bloody Valentine or Jesus and Mary Chain. Despite Harte’s creative forays down other stylistic musical avenues, such as the new wave number “Emily” and the post-punk rocker “Blonde-Haired Girl” , most of the songs on this latest effort are heavily influenced by the ambiguous avant-garde pop of the mid 80’s. Think of the soundtrack to any melodramatic coming-of-age John Hughes flick and you’ve got this album. This album may not get the party started, but it’s definitely got enough sentiment to get everybody making out on the couch.
By Charley Lee