Gettin’ My Lean On With Shapes

Get Your Lean On! Band – Shapes
EP – Get Your Lean On

Label – Big Scary Monsters
Release date – Free download from BSM Friend site!
Sounds like – Circles, squares, triangles, pentagons, hexagons, etc.

Newsflash: Big Scary Monsters are a brilliant record label. I’m surprised they haven’t gone under with the amount of free stuff they give away, but hey, I suppose it attracts people who then go on to spunk their cash away on the frankly incredible selection of bands the BSM roster holds, so why not chuck out a few freebies? I’m not complaining! I wish more labels were this generous. Anyway, this week’s free morsel comes in the form of a 6-track EP from a Birmingham band called Shapes.

They couldn’t have picked a more fitting name really. Mind you, I’ve always considered Tetrahedron to be a pretty awesome band name, but it would involve about 4 guitarists, 3 bassists, 5 drummers, a shit load of feedback and no ears by the end of the first practice. But I digress ”“ Shapes is the perfect name for this trio, who excel in creating a convoluted mixture of shifting, math-rock patterns, interspersed with the customary big riffs and some sparse vocal shouts.

You’ve Made Your Bed, Now Eat It’ roars past in a 2 minute whirlwind of frantic punk rock that jolts and bounces like a drunken train driver, desperately trying to keep on the right track. The vocals are ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-them’ hoarse backing cries of alarm that suit the jerking, brash nature of their sound. ‘Dreams In Twisted Fuselage’ fleshes out the math-punk sound, with nods towards the changeable guitar times of Meet Me In St. Louis and a twisted, low-end heaviness. The change in this track is quite dramatic; as it alters from something that is inherently tuneful and melodic, to a wild churning froth of riffs and clattering drumbeats.

Shapes are a band that doesn’t want to be seen as jamming the square brick into the square hole. They seem content in forcing the triangle brick in the circle hole, no matter how much of bastard it is to fit. ‘Retreat, Attack!’ lumbers forward with dogged determination, getting progressively louder and more intricate as the guitar and bass cut different lines and sounds through the militant percussion. It’s the kind of stabbing, ready for war attitude that Irish instrumentalists, And So I Watch You From Afar have perfected so well and so thoroughly. ‘Everything More Out Of Tune That Everything Else’, (subtle Meat Loaf reference there) whilst trying to maintain a ponderous, progressive nature is a scribble of confusion and chaos; as the rhythm section and guitarist seem to be playing at different times and speeds to one another, each unsure when the next is supposed to begin or even finish. ‘Yer Cold Bastard’ is as the name suggests, a fairly stark and adamant piece; it’s brash and quite desolate guitar sound chugs with an indigent fury, yet it finishes with a flourish of emptiness and the meagre vocals, screaming the words ‘bed tonight!’ before finishing with a muted out-of-tune whine.  Unfortunately, the last track, ‘Get your Remix On’ is fairly disappointing and is reminiscent of someone trying to emulate the sound of Gameboy being fed through a speaker alongside a Theremin and some badly programmed drums.

To me Shapes are a tantalising prospect that verges from moments of pure brilliance to ‘what the fuck?’ moments of bizarre tomfoolery. This is a great start though and for the cost of zero pence, a worthwhile selection of songs to investigate.

‘The Pasture, The Oil’ – the second EP from Shapes is out now on BSM.


Shapes on Myspace
Big Scary Monsters
BSM Friend
Shapes Last FM

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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