Shapes are a band which belong to the new indie fused post-hardcore genre which is currently sweeping UK underground music scene. Hailing from Birmingham, this three piece have a clear influence from other cousin UK bands like Blackfish and Hawk Eyes. The sound of these bands is one which could be mistaken as offensive noise to the untrained ear, but a closer listen will reveal an under-current of musical complexity.
Monotony Chic, the debut album from Shapes, embraces this sound structure remarkably well. From start to finish the album is collection of trashy thrash-vocal songs, which are blended with cleaner, calmer moments. Opener ‘Allure a Hore’ flaunts a discorded manic chorus with an unexpected funk-indie melody for the verses. In fact, the best way to approach this album would be to expect the unexpected.
Despite the brevity of the songs, it is difficult to predict which direction they are going to take next; a refreshing break from the easy-listening verse-chorus-verse pattern. The songs on the album also explore a diverse tone and sound, achieved through the use of various instruments and effects. ‘Judgment Bespoke’ opens with a sober horns section, which sets up a cheerless tone for the song. Yet with the drum beat which is cleverly picked up for the rest of the song’s intro, with duelling guitars and a heavy rock bass line; the song suddenly becomes a more up-beat rock song. The change is so cleverly mastered, that it is barely noticeable , but it is this craft of weaving common musical elements together which allows the band to switch so masterfully between genres within songs. This common thread is not only responsible for binding together the songs, but also the whole album. It means the disjointedness is contained just the right amount, allowing the uniqueness of the sound to sound through without sounding like uncontrolled noise.
Tracks which stand out in particular from the album corpus include ‘Siren Song’ for its punchy bass line and strangely catchy chorus and ‘Cacophony of Silence’ for its sporadic musicality and sheer rock-factor. This album embraces many genres and a vast sound, so whilst it may not be for everyone, if you enjoy a musical listening challenge then I would highly recommend Monotony Chic. An excellent debut effort from a promising and inimitable new band.
Released on 30th May 2011 by Big Scary Monsters