Turns out Reading really is about that punk shit.
Words: Ali Shutler.
Photos: Frances Beach.
“Reading, are you about that punk shit,” snarls vocalist Ashrita Kumar before Pinkshift launch into ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’. Moments earlier, they were preaching solidarity while the fiery track ends with a huge call and response about the lyrics “I don’t want your fake obsessions / I need something real to change.” Turns out Reading really is about that punk shit.
Pinkshift exploded onto the pop-punk scene in 2020 with their breakout hit ‘I’m Gonna Tell My Therapist On You’ but the band were already moving beyond simple nostalgia and sugary hooks back then. Today, that urgent song leans heavily into its more hardcore influences (“It’s a release, it’s about having fun,” grins Ashrita) while tracks from last year’s debut ‘Love Me Forever’ see the band continue to experiment.
Opener ‘I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying’ cycles through aggression, heartbreak and vulnerability in a tightly-wound three-minute burst before ending in hammering catharsis, ‘Nothing (In My Head)’ is swaying, agile and menacing with big, emo declarations before ‘Burn The Witch’ channels more of that gnashing fury. “It’s about burning down systems of oppression,” explains Ashrita, with transphobia and racism in its sights.
New single ‘Home’ shakes things up further with the swaying, atmospheric moment of calm as powerful as anything that’s come before. Through the rage, the venom and the raw reflection, there’s a constant sense of community.