whiskey and apples

Monday, April 10, 2006

Shapes and Sizes

The first thing you notice when Victoria BC's Shapes and Sizes comes to your town is the facility and joy with which they play their unique, complex style of indie rock. Singers/guitarists Caila Thompson-Hannant and Rory Seydel along with bassist Nathan Gage throw lightning-quick ideas back and forth, alternate vocal lines, and pull wild new sounds from their instruments. It's a hell of a show. And though he was absent from this tour (the always-ready-to-jump-on-a-van Karmin Snow filled in), drummer John Crellin flawlessly glues it all together.

After the set is finished and you stumble back to look at their merch, the next thing you'll notice about Shapes and Sizes is the lovely CD artwork by Caity Gallupe on their self-titled first release. The sense of color and style would feel right at home with some of the art collectives in Austin like Totally Wreck. The disc is beautiful as well, and gives you the feeling that what you're about to hear is something rad.

Shapes and Sizes' songs often work like little symphonies. Intricately layered, the parts maintain independence (pretty rare for indie rock) and fit together with introductions, development, and even a "scream-cannon coda" at the end of "Island's Gone Bad" where each singer begins/ends the same line at different times, "Children gone mad, children gone bad, eating moms, eating dads, it's so sad, children gone mad." Never heard that before.

Island's Gone Bad - mp3

The songs are usually fronted by Rory or Caila. Caila's voice at times reminds me of everything I loved about Chrissie Hynde's "Back on the Chain Gang." By that I mean the highest compliment possible, because that gal had a rad voice. Caila hits the three-octaves-up Mariah Carey mark, too, in the racing climax of "Goldenhead." Rory's voice has a kid-like quality that sounds like someone running down a big hill hollering with pride about a kite they just got into the air. "Why is Rory bleeding?" begins the appropriately-titled, "Rory's Bleeding," which has amazing, Dark Side of the Moon-type harmonies. (Again, I mean that in the good way.) And there's Wilderness, complete with lovely saxophone work, lazy bendy guitars, whistling, and a sort of Lord-of-the-Flies narrative which you should just hear for yourself:

Wilderness - mp3

With their first North American tour winding down, they'll be home in Victoria later this month. I was lucky enough to join the band (along with Caity the artist and Amy, Rory's girlfriend) on a four-day desert adventure that completely rejuvenated my soul; we've all got the tattoos to prove it. So I'm thrilled to announce that Shapes and Sizes signed with Asthmatic Kitty when they got to New York. The record release date is set for July 25th, and you can bet it'll be buzzing well before then. Expect great things from this band!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

victoria loves shapes and sizes!

-eagerly awaiting their return!

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello there. here is my review :)

Album Title: Shapes and Sizes Genre: Indie Pop/Rock
Artist: Shapes and Sizes Label/Release: self-released/2006
Rotation: Heavy!!!!!!!!

Shapes and Sizes are a beautiful indie pop band from Victoria, Canada. Their music is fun, quirky, interesting, and will make you feel a million things at once. They have both male and female vocals, but the female vocals by Caila Thompson are what first got me hooked. Not only is her voice top-notch, it is really energetic and she employs all sorts of range--much like what Neko Case does with her voice in New Pornographers. The male vocals by Rory Seydel are also very interesting, and also in many places the whole band will shout/sing for a neat effect. There is much variety within each track--so you won't hear 3 minutes of the same sort of thing.

The tracks I love with Caila's vocals are track 1, Island's Gone Bad (with great clapping!), and track 6, Goldenhead. Other good tracks are the rock tracks 2 & 8, Weekends at a Time and Oh No, Oh Boy, and a pop track 4, Northern Lights. Track 5, Wilderness, is a nice dual vocalist track with fun whistling. Track 10 is a country-ish song, Boy, You Shouldn't Have. [Leila@KVRX Mar 06]

Indecencies: none
Recommended: ALL! My order: 6, 1, 5, 4, 8, 7, 2, 9, 10, 3

1:10 AM  

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