An always intimate-sounding blend of indie pop and electronics, Christchurch, New Zealand's Shocking Pinks are the project of singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nick Harte. Something of a wunderkind, Harte began playing piano at age six; took up bass, drums, and guitar by the time he was eight; and studied jazz and modern composition -- as well as saxophone, viola, violin, and cello -- at ten. When he was 13, Harte started recording his songs and also performed as the one-man Z, drawing comparisons to Brian Wilson in a New Zealand music publication. He also played in several other bands, including Pig Out, Solaa, Montessori, Laudanum, the Incisions, and the Brunettes (on whose When Ice Met Cream he played drums).
After returning from a six-month stay in London, Harte began working in earnest as the Shocking Pinks, a name inspired by Pretty in Pink's classic teen angst and Harte's desire to keep listeners guessing. Released in 2004, the Shocking Pinks' debut album, Dance the Dance Electric, featured a full-band lineup and introduced Harte's sound, which nodded to the spare, bittersweet sound of such classic New Zealand bands as the Clean and the Bats, My Bloody Valentine's avant pop, and dance-punk. The album earned strong reviews, including one from Pitchfork that drew the attention of indie dance label DFA. In the wake of this success, the Shocking Pinks signed to the legendary New Zealand imprint Flying Nun and released two albums in 2005, Mathematical Warfare and Infinity Land, which Harte wrote and performed on his own. DFA signed Harte and released a series of limited-edition singles, which included remixes by the Glimmers, Deerhunter, Eluvium, and Arkitype, before issuing Shocking Pinks, a remastered compilation of songs from Mathematical Warfare and Infinity Land, in fall 2007. The first word that Harte was working on new material arrived in 2012, when he revealed that he planned to release an EP, Guilt Mirrors, that was inspired by and recorded in part during the Christchurch earthquake in 2011. However, by its February 2014 release, Guilt Mirrors had expanded into a triple album encompassing dance, dream-pop and indie-folk as well as collaborations with Arkitype, Gemma Syme and Ashlin Frances Raymond. ~ Heather Phares