Shape is definitely a band that appreciates music. Hailing
from Melbourne, this five piece are all about layered and
textured structures, lush production, and witty, thoughtful
lyrics, as evidenced on their debut long player Boat Without
from a definite indie folk-rock perspective, it is perhaps
unsurprising that some pundits have drawn comparisons from
Augie March or Gomez. While there may be some truth to this
(especially on the track Gordonwhich threatens to be more
Augie March than Augie March), Basic Shape tend to stand
out from this ever-expanding and increasingly generic genre
of folk-rock. Why? Because Basic Shape are a band with personality.
lot of this personality comes in the form of lead singer
Gerry Eemans vocals, which seem to waft effortlessly
over proceedings with a definite Nick Drake breathiness.
vocals are complimented by some well-placed four part harmonies
which recalls a Songs From Northern Britain era Teenage
Fanclub or even the Beach Boys on Prozac.
Carneys simple, yet atmospheric lead guitar acts as
a nice counterbalance to Eemans vocals and is reminiscent
of an unpretentious David Gilmour or Johnny Greenwood.
choice of ex-Killjoy Craig Pilkington seems to be the perfect
choice as he has helped steer the album toward a solid,
cohesive album that still resonates on a personal level.
comes as no surprise considering Pilkington has produced
some of Australias most folk-rock acts such as the
Black Eyed Susans and the Lucksmiths.
a result, Boat Without a Sailis one of those albums that
offers something new upon each listen be it a barely
audible guitar part or a sneaky little keyboard riff that
creeps in on listen number four Boat Without a Sailis
the gift that just keeps on giving.
Skin, the first single from the album offers a perfect introduction
to the band a surprising number that builds from
the bare bones of vocals and guitar to an almost choral
crescendo without any hint of pretentiousness.
Basic Shape doesnt seem to be one of those bands who
would be likely to rock out too often, that
is not to say that Boat Without a Sail is a maudlin shoe-gazing
experience. Songs like Rainy Day, with more than just a
hint of Harry Belafonte-esque calypso, and the up-tempo
staccato of Up Till Dawn,almost dare the listener not to
get up off of that thing and dance (or at the very least
tap a foot).
is an inherent musical intelligence to Basic Shape. They
seem to have learnt early on in their careers one of the
most important rules of popular music - knowing when not
Boat Without a Sail is a cohesive, dynamic album that is
full of rich textures and enough surprising twists and turns
to keep the listeners coming back long after the first listen.