Shocking Pinks’ Triple Threat Guilty Valentine

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Back in 2007 when I was asked to put together my first Top 10 albums of the year list as a KCRW DJ one of my favorite records that year (and even now) was Shocking Pinks‘ self-titled album for DFA Records.

A perfect, heartfelt indie-punk, lo-fi, new-wavey goth-disco album from New Zealand’s Nick Harte, it was just left-field, raw and sincere enough to be on DFA but perhaps not dancey enough to catch with what folks were typically associating with that sound.

Years passed and no album came.

A fantastic track, “Ten Years“, appeared on some blogs a couple years back.

Then last year, “Doublevisionversion appeared.

Hints of a possible album, but no real tangible information and years of waiting wore on my own personal anticipation. Then, without warning a couple of weeks back a new track (the unbelievably heartbreaking “St. Louisfeat. Gemma Syme) appeared on Pitchfork with the announcement of a new full length. That is a triple album.

That’s A LOT of love…just in time for Valentines Day.

“Guilt Mirrors”, coming Feb. 18th on new Brooklyn based label Stars & Letters is a dense and deeply personal collection of songs Harte has been working on for years following a series of personal struggles and living through the aftermath of the huge earthquake that struck his hometown of Christchurch back in 2011.

35 of the several hundred songs he has written in the last few years made the cut. It’s a dense listen and is less of a singular, flowing vision and takes more of a kitchen sink “mixtape” approach. There is a definite aesthetic logic there, but it’s mostly designed to feature (and does so quite excellently) the surprisingly wide range of sounds and moods of Shocking Pinks.

From quiet existential lullabies to crushing elegiac memorials to admissions of love, Guilt Mirrors is an artful triumph of sincerity and damn good music.

Although I was mad it took so long, I’m so so very grateful Harte is back and sharing his work with us.