- by Nathan Fidler Rating:7 Release Date:2016-03-11 Label: Slumberland
Releasing Feels Weird in 2013, Bent Shapes showed themselves to be a band with an undercurrent of promise. Just looking at the cover art for their second, and latest album, Wolves of Want ,provides you with a glimmer of a young band sharpening themselves into an effective point to take themselves forwards.
No song you’ll hear this year as an opening track will give you as much hope for a band as ‘New Starts in Old Dominion’. Full of adrenaline and some seriously hooky melodies, it’s liable to be anthemic for the current generation, one which everyone is trying to pin down as lost, lazy or ungrateful.
Where do they go from such great heights? Well, things are taken down just a notch. The tempo is kept up for the most part, and the over-literate lyricism can run away from you at times - especially the spoken word element in ‘USA vs POR’ - but little else comes close to the obscurely catchy opening track.
Bent Shapes refer to themselves as nerd-pop but there is something a little more to them than that. Sure, they have a Shins-esque love or being wordy, but the guitars are constantly set to “jangle”, as if every track is running out of time. Plus, they're not afraid of belting things out either.
‘Realization Hits’ is yet another hook-heavy, seemingly damning and yet celebratory track for the state of our modern lives. “Conscripted into cultural wars by proxy to proxy on the venue floor” scratches at the issue of modern politics, culture and war all in one, but tags on “failure’s never been this fun”, avoiding getting bogged down in anything too particular and somehow perfectly summing up a comfortable, youthful perspective.
For all the pep and unending enthusiasm in forcing forwards, some songs seem to lack that charm or hook. ‘Beton Brut’ for example, feels featureless in comparison with other tracks, and while ‘Intransitive Verbs’ is supposed to be laid bad, only the single string strumming in the background, the twisting wordplay takes precedence over anything else.
Anyone familiar with the band’s debut will pleased as punch, and all the evidence is there to suggest a handful of songs might carry them to great things. But it still remains that there is work to be done.