The Secretly Canadian Newsletter

From corner to corner of their dew spritzered discography, now five full-lengths deep, The Impossible Shapes of Indiana have electrically projected what stands as a direct and feverish summoning on the late 60s sugar-sandoz-lick of the pop-folk format. Whilst 2005’s critically pumped Horus initiated escalation into a milkwood tapestry of a man vs. earth vs. spirit conceptual acorn, Tum, the 300 edition LP issued just months before is their most thoroughly realized confirmation of man as freedom as seed. Principal songwriters Chris Barth & Aaron Deer nefariously split that nut into mighty gush, fattening this garage cum psyche-chamber session enough to peel back grooves from the cornerstones of Shirley Collins’ Folkways side False True Lovers to Bobb Trimble’s Harvest of Dreams. Now reissued on unlimited CD, Tum is deliciously reborn for all.

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 Weddle Boylan Heights, NC


Ra In Thy Rising

Florida Silver Springs

The Working Vessel

Pixie Pride

Fulgent Fields

Tahuti, Splendid Scribe

Late Summer Sky




Wild West Wake Us Up


Our Love Lives

Twisted Sol Epoch

Willow Willow Yew

Little Gloves