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Album Review: Shapes - Monotony Chic

One would be quick to assess the channeling of the defunct Blakfish through the similar style and verve that Shapes display. In fact, the two mathy bands are simply part of the same homegrown Birmingham scene that allowed the former to burst into a wider scene with their angular, quick-shifting alternative rock. Shapes seem to be injected with the same urgency and tendency for sonic assault in the form of their debut album ‘Monotony Chic’.

Opening salvo ‘Siren Song’ sets the tone, a strong representative of things to come as the band unload their math-hardcore ammo with fist-clenching energy. On many of the tracks, such as ‘Allure A Hore’ and ‘Lipstick Vulture’, their sound suffers a little from this sense of a constant wall of noise and they do much better on an effort like ‘The Victim’ where they take a step back and breathe a little space into the equation to introduce flirtations with melody and various experimental expressions of rhythm.

In fact, only the opening trio seem to suffer from this as the remainder of the album provides a strong selection of a consistently original and progressive blend of powerful punk music and subtle variations of undefined genre. ‘Vacancy Ape’ and ‘Judgment Bespoke’ are strong contenders for stand-out track within this strength-to-strength format, as the band experiment most with melodic twists, bone-crushing riff sections and, believe it or not, a cheeky brass reverie.

Shapes have cunningly (who would dare say silently?) paved their path with two decent EPs but ‘Monotony Chic’ should help establish them into contemporary UK alternative rock and help them creep into people’s homes to blow their minds. Even considering the more in-your-face start of the album, it’s only upwards from there and shouldn’t scare potential listeners, only prove their versatility. Shapes are good. Shapes are real good.


'Monotony Chic' is available now Big Scary Monsters

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James Berclaz-Lewis

Alter The Press!