Shapes + Sizes

Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner
VÖ: 18.05.2007
Label: asthmatic kitty records
Vertrieb: Cargo Records

Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner kicks off with a solid rock march ambitious enough to soundtrack the first 10 miles of any road trip. The opening track is one that Shapes and Sizes could very well have penned during their recent 30 kilometer move from Victoria, where the band members met through the city´s vibrant artistic community, to Vancouver.
Initially the Canadian four-piece adopted the familiar singer-songwriter paradigm, but decided to break those parameters by having everyone write and sing. The gamble paid off; S&S concocted the self-titled debut album of bi-polar, stop-and-start songs that pulled listeners onto an emotional ride, and raised ears, hairs and goose bumps at Asthmatic Kitty Records. Anxious to test their brand of experimental pop on the more southernly Americans, Shapes and Sizes went on tour across the States. Somewhere between British Columbia and New York, the band found themselves sharing a rusted van with the songs that would constitute Split Hips, Winning Hips , A Shiner.
Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner hardly sounds Canadian, at least when compared to the recent immigration of crafted pop from the West and Quebec. Fusing Jon Crellin (drums) and Nathan Gage´s (bass) formal musical training with the youthful energy of Caila Thompson-Hannant (keys) and Rory Seydel´s (guitar) R&B background, S&S consistently stretches and questions the musical structure of each song while providing an outsider objectivity by the complicated scope of music from the lower 48.
After extensive touring on their self-titled album, Shapes and Sizes have refined their brand of experimental pop to create a cohesive, demanding and rewarding listen. Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner is proof that Shapes and Sizes aim to please the while not pandering. Imagine a soulful top 40 Thinking Fellers playing songs for the prom.
Lyrically Split Lips is at once celebratory and derogatory; among other things, a peculiar but calculated meditation on naïve nationalism and potent protest (“Victory in War, oh what a bore”). “High Life” focuses on benign habits turned scabrous, and “Alone/Alive” casts an existential strobe on freedom and dependence minus the pretension that usually comes along for the ride.
Split Lip´s harmonious discord is also technical: the brand recorded wit JC/DC Studios (Destroyer, New Pornographers, Tegan and Sara, etc.) and mixed with Asthmatic Kitty´s own Rafter Roberts (Fiery Furnances, The Rapture, The Plot To Blow Up the Eiffel Tower) to forge a pristine decomposition. Don´t try turning it down ““ the overdrive provides the framework for equally aggressive lyrics that combine sensuality, violence, and social critique.
“Pop songs can often feel like variations on the same pattern”¦Shapes and Sizes are able to remix that formula, creating pop tunes that feel just slightly off, and thus become infinitely more interesting.” ““ CMJ

- They shared recently stages with Silver Jews, Frog Eyes, The Thermals, Apples in Stereo, Architecture in Helsinki, and label-mates Castanets.
- They will tour in Germany in late spring.

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