The Impossible Shapes – The Great Migration

3 out of 5

Produced by: The Impossible Shapes?

Label: Luna Music

All of the pieces that would assemble into soon-to-come Impossible Shapes’ greatness were clearly part of their debut, Great Migration, and those pieces were even mostly assembled already – the group was producing confident, Elephant 6-tinged music that didn’t suffer from the somewhat forced homage sound that that tag suggests – but it’s still a bit hazy at this point; a little too loose to be striking.  The murky production also doesn’t do the band much credit: later, the instrumentation would come across in crisp support of the band’s psychedelic tendencies; here, the lack of push to go all out in any direction and four-trackish fuzz leaves a lot of tracks middling.

Which isn’t to say there isn’t plenty here to indicate there was potential for something special: opener Soundoff is rough around the edges, but the way the drums come in and the song swoons mirrors some of the group’s impressive entries on subsequent releases; Howling Hearts showcases their penchant for odd minor chord rooted-riffs; Change the Air has a delightful decent into noise; and Sand Reconstructions drops in one of their rare (and awesome) distortion freakouts.  In between these moments things do tend to blend together, though, including a string of tracks on the middle which all use the same drum countoff to begin, making it sound kind of demo-y.

Shapes very well could have become another hushed indie rock act based on selected songs from their debut.  However, they sharpened up their edges and decided – to our benefit – to get bolder and weirder.  Great Migration isn’t necessarily solid from start to finish, but Shapes fans will definitely find a good amount of worthwhile material to further their appreciation of the band.