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coverpic flag US - Indiana - Full Moon 103 - 02/24/05

The Impossible Shapes
St. Ives

Since forming in 1997 The Impossible Shapes (TIS) have put out a heap of records. TIS has got a manifesto, but they're aiming at one goal: freedom. As they state on their website: Freedom is the single most important thing. Personnel does not matter. Instruments do not matter. Recording equipment does not matter. Technical ability certainly doesnt matter. All we need is love, and the ability to express that love through song. Also, we have done some experimenting along the way, and we will continue to do so."

Tum is their 4,5th record - an inbetween and strictly limited (300, vinyl only, handmade: painted and numbered) release before they put out their 5th album proper - Horus (check for review next moonth) - a couple of weeks ago. Two albums in two weeks - not bad. In addition to that: Tum was recorded in two weeks! Tum is said to be the younger sister to Horus. And a wild (yet not out of control - more like, uh, adventurous, playful, curiously exploring) little girl it is. Quite clearly made in/during a rough (low-fi) conditional setting, but holding the necessary and highly important charm.

TIS play jangly psychedelic underground alternative pop, and names such as Olivia Tremor Control, Guided By Voices and Apples in Stereo have been dropped to draw the publics attention. The Shins and Summer Hymns are another names that comes to mind. Maybe also a Danielson Famile without the high-pitch vocals. And some parts makes me think of Sufjan Stevens. It might have something to do with the banjo. But Olivia Tremor Control (or rather their alter ego Black Swan Network) is maybe the more precise comparison.

There's a melodic theme - a red thread - throughout the album. Like a mantra. Some of the 17 tracks are mere fragments and instrumental sketches. Yet I get a feeling of an album as a whole, even though it's a bit "out of focus" sometimes. I also get this feeling of flowering springtime, especially hearing songs like "Florida Silver Springs" and "Willow Willow Yew". Daisy-pop, one might call it?

Chris Barth, Aaron Deer, Jason Groth, and Mark Rice are far from impossible, and they (honorably mention also to guests Peter King, Amy Karr, and Stefan Gabriel Fuks) create very charming shapes indeed. Can't wait to get hold of Horus!

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