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The Impossible Shapes | Bless The Headless (Recordhead/Whiggs)
From the label that brought us Brando, Tobin Sprout and Bob Pollard's Fading Captain series comes the fourth full-length from Bloomington's The Impossible Shapes. Employing Elephant Six fixture Bill Doss and Paul Mahern (Superchunk, Lisa Germano) as co-producers, the band have left behind the home-recorded aesthetic of previous releases and the result is a heady fix of elaborate but far from impenetrable pop with its roots in psychedelia and '70s experimentalism.
Vocalist Chris Barth's astutely obtuse lyrics are a perfect fit for the adventurous arrangements that never lose focus or take their eye of the next hook, all the while maintaining listener interest. Not to say the Shapes don't know how to forge a sparse, strummed gem as the ninety-second I Live On Your Roof attests, but much evident here is the band's desire to mess with the formula and inject a healthy dose of attention-span arresting complexity. That they seem to do so with such offhand poise and panache is some achievement.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #12 - Summer 2003