[26 August 2008]
Beginning with a “Norwegian Wood” chord progression, Take Shape blends country-swathed folk with Velvet Underground psychedelic undertones. The Dreadful Yawns, who hail from Cleveland, feature four multi-instrumentalists among its six musicians. The first song, “Like Song” is broken into two parts (just like the album is broken into two sides): “a. Indian Summer Long” and “b. The Owls”. In the former portion, a relaxed folk pop melody involves Ben Gmetro and Elizabeth Kelly singing in lackadaisical unison. Organs and electric piano (by Clayton Heuer) add a certain twang to the soft rock. The latter is a ghostly section of “oohs” that recall the hooting of an owl. A grisly “Queen and the Jokester” comes next, sporting a raucous, punk rockabilly swagger.
Gmetro and Chris Russo both helped record and mix the disc, and they trade off vocal, drumming and guitar duties between them. Kelly’s backing vocals create an off-kilter ingredient that echoes the punk strut of the rest of the instrumentation. The three songs that constitute the “second side” start with the drudging “All the Dead Soldiers”. Halfway through the song, quiet takes over with minimal feedback, slight organ, and soft percussion. “Don’t Know What I’ve Been On” is the epic Velvet-silence-SonicYouth selection that shifts throughout ten minutes of mania. If side one is the delirium of a psychedelic drug binge, then side two is coming down, the time period of recovery to reality.