Formed in 1998 the Shapes -- Barth (guitar, vocalist), Deer (organ, bass) Jason Groth (guitar) and Mark Rice (drums) -- have kept a profoundly articulate sense of classic song/dream structure whether they are billowing in drenched multi-tacked gauze like Indianapolis forefathers Zerfas or snarled in amp-buzz annihilation of power-quartet stage performances. On the flip, Barth can pixie dance from guitar play/vocal slay in a quaint yet sexually sly role of piper against Deer's counterpoint-heavy arrangements of tape-spliced fuckery. Like meat-pulp quicksand, they pull you deep in. Tum is buoyed by these three streams from the opening Bram Martin-like invocation through the scratch orchestral vision of "Twisted Sol Epoch" toward the shimmering gallop heavy "Florida Silver Springs."
Easily the rawest tapes of the Shapes canon, Tum is a potent album, self-produced and directed to articulate a peak without contemporary parallels that easily rides against the sloshed chunks of bland neo-folk/whatevers that adds to the rising murk. As backup in the battle, original member Peter King, Amy Karr (The Mean-agers) and Stefan Gabriel contribute throughout. These 17 songs/moments act like spell casting vessels...as hot-mouthed barefoot children with gloved fists pounding out the body-shuddering call of all to return, neck-deep, to the earth-cult. Time to carve some bark into a ticket and get in line.
The wide umbrella of activity outside the Impossible Shapes stretches to each member's participation and full-on rolls in The Coke Dares (Essay Records), John Wilkes Booze (Kill Rock Stars), Barth's solo persona NormanOak (Secretly Canadian) and Deer's solo side Horns of Happiness (Secretly Canadian).
-- Eric WeddleBoylan Heights, NC
(SC132 released: 03/07/06)