The Secretly Canadian Newsletter

The Impossible Shapes is a quartet from the southern reaches of Indiana featuring bass/keys-man Aaron Deer, guitarist/bassist Jason Groth, drummer Mark Rice, and songwriter/singer/guitarist/polemicist Chris Barth. Horus is the group’s fifth proper full-length album since 2000 and The One that takes the clues and abstractions of all previous and encapsulates them as a monumental and subversive vessel. At point-A we have a classic album from a post-Aquarian world that would be on the electric side of Bert Jansch’s Pentangle or Fotheringay. Then from point-B Barth takes a lyrical journey that saunters against the slim lines of magickal romance, demon chasing, Pan, and vile humanistic impulses that reads of equal parts Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Aleister Crowley. His litanies on discovery and shadowy desires of hedonism and courtly love line each song with a tint of naturalistic folk force and free will.

The Shapes previous Secretly Canadian album “We Like it Wild” carried a rock ‘n roll torch with both hands. On Horus, produced with LonPaul Ellrich (Marmoset, June Panic) at his Queensize Studio, the momentum resurfaces into an air of suspension. The band’s guitar/drum swagger has slowed, allowing the slanted rhythms more time to curl around each verse, organ pump and moonlight howl. A swell of grandeur appears across this song cycle, morphing out of the delicate hill-side inflected guitar melodies into miniature cathedral celebrations. An association of fellow travelers exists within the 12 songs evoking the ancestral pull of early Pink Floyd and a non-acoustic Incredible String Band changing milk-into-gold with their dark brethren Comus. They even dip in some Tuli Kupfeberg, Charles Potts and the song “Survival” sounds just like it would fit on the Buzzcock’s Singles Going Steady.

The wide umbrella of activity outside the Impossible Shapes stretches to each member’s participation and full-on rolls in Songs: Ohia/Magnolia Electric Co (Secretly Canadian), 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), though no thinning of blood is found within Horus. The magical spells cast song-by-song grow with each moment that they are set free with every listen.



Demon Child


The Beast

The Princess

I Move By The Moon


Demon Love

Forever Alone

Blooming Town