This week, ‘Spillin’ The Beans is exploring “Pull“, the new EP by Rival Shapes.
The band comes from Tucson, Arizona. Their press release tells me that “Rival Shapes was born in late 2014 after singer-songwriter Fred Baker’s return to Tucson, AZ. After connecting with guitarist/songwriter, Frank Dillon, at the local watering hole, the two were convinced they should start a band. Frank leveled adjectives into Fred’s ear. Haunting. Sexy. Shadowy. Introspective. The mutual respect the two creators shared helped shore up any doubt about whether they should continue forward with the project.“
You can hear the band’s EP on Soundcloud, here, and you can find out more about them from their website. There is also a video of one of the tracks, Evaporate, on YouTube. There are six tracks on the EP in total and the music is mostly contemplative and melancholy in tone. One might even use the word elegiac, which isn’t a word I deploy that often. Anyway, I’ve listened to it all twice now and the thing that strikes me the most is how much it reminds me of Elbow in places, which isn’t at all to imply plagiarism or anything, just that this music evokes some of the same kind of atmosphere that I get from Guy Garvey and the rest of Elbow’s quieter and more thought-provoking moments.
The music has a moody powerful quality which is helped by sympathetic production and sparse but effective playing. I think that often musicians tend to put too many layers onto their tracks, which can end up making things sound cluttered and confused, but here we have a lovely stripped-back sound which lets the really rather good songwriting show through.
If I have a criticism, it is that the tracks on the EP are all too similar, but perhaps that fits in with what the band intended? As the press release says, this is “a rainy day record. A stay at home and make love record. A “this got me through high school/college/my breakup record.” “, which is fair enough. The opening track, Evaporate sets the tone for what is to come and in some ways is the most effective song on the EP, although I think that my personal favourite is Poisonous Bloom, which has some lovely chiming guitar arpeggios and a more forceful dynamic. Overall it packs in a lot of drama.
So, give Rival Shapes some of your time and listen to their music. If you like it, they are on Facebook so you can give them a “Like” there.