The guys and gal in Bent Shapes are smart. That they've all got ways with a hook doesn't hurt either. The band ups the indie ante on Wolves of Want, out this coming Friday on Slumberland Records, to make the sort of music that fans of Literature and Expert Alterations will dig. I hate to just lazily toss out names of other bands -- (both connected to the same label, I should add) -- but I needed a way to get the reader on board quickly; if I had said that the band sounded like Comet Gain too I might not have grabbed as many readers (which is no insult to Comet Gain but, rather, a jab at how few people know the tunes of the wonderful Comet Gain).
At no point on Wolves of Want do brains get in the way of heart. A track like "Realization Hits" chimes with abandon, while "What We Do Is Public" is borderline early Arctic Monkeys all Americanized, if that makes any sense at all. Obvious single "New Digs in Old Dominion" recalls label-mates Gold-Bears, while "Samantha West" is more 1983 dB's than anything else. Sharply observed and put together with a lot of heart, songs like this simply charm even when you think you've heard everything a "guitar band" can do with a few chords. "86'd in '03" even somewhat oddly recalls earlier generations' brainy pop gods like The Embarrassment or The Modern Lovers and one can only marvel at the future potential of this band. Bent Shapes, clearly, are pushing at the edges of the indie genre and for every moment where they revel in those jangle-y guitars there's another on Wolves of Want where they cut loose and do something bright and new.
Look, if you spin this LP from Bent Shapes you're gonna hear echoes of a lot of bands you grew up with (if you're even a decade close to my age) but that's no knock on this four-some. Rather, it's the way that the pieces come together here that really made me happy. Catchy, punchy, and intellectual enough to not be too dumb or too smart, the tunes on Wolves of Want are exactly everything indie rock should be. It's on Slumberland Records so was there any doubt?
[Photo: Avi Paul Weinstein]