It’s exciting to find an unsigned band who are on the verge of making it. This tingly vibe is currently attached to New York City quintet the Shapes. After catching their live act last year, a television music supervisor picked the band to record the theme song, “Behind the Blue”, for an A&E reality show called Dallas SWAT (a name just begging to be parodied by the porn industry), 2005 also saw the release of this disc, the debut, self-titled mini-LP from the Shapes. At seven songs and running just over half an hour, The Shapes is a perfect introduction to the band’s melodic and likeably uncomplicated brand of indie-rock. Singer/guitarists Mark Allen and Tonia Samman share both lead vocal and songwriting duties. Their voices sound great together, although Samman’s expressive alto, a mix of Debbie Harry and the Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan, will carry the band the farthest. Musically, the duo’s writing contributions merge seamlessly into the group sound, which is heavily indebted to the catchy and unfettered pop/rock of the new wave era, such as the Pretenders, the Romantics, and the Plimsouls. Not merely a retro act, however, the tight and punchy sound of the shapes is also a product of today’s post-alt indie-rock grit. A good band like the Shapes will certainly get snatched up soon, and I’m sure we’ll be treated to a very fine full-length follow-up in the near future. For now, enjoy this mid-sized bite of catchy, rockin’ pop.
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