Broken Shapes – Something Plastic
Reviewed by Seymour Quigley

As even the most casual of listeners may have observed, there’s a grand tradition in rock ‘n’ roll of making glorious, unsupportable claims. From Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones claiming to have been born amidst a freakishly violent wind incident, to Freddie Mercury off of Queen’s impassioned boast that he was some kind of supersonic, molten atomic explosive device bound for Mars, to Niklas Isfeldt of Dream Evil asserting, in no uncertain terms, that he was not only a real-life slayer of fire-breathing reptiles, but also Jesus, we expect a certain lack of austerity from our more colourful rock stars when it comes to telling us the truth about themselves.

Ipswich 5-piece Broken Shapes, however, are not a traditional band. Describing themselves (with perhaps a degree of well-intentioned but ultimately misplaced flippancy) alternately as “Balearic, Crunk, Junk, Disco, Funk, Alternative” or else as sounding like “Duran Duran on a crack boat”, Broken Shapes are, in fact, a much darker and more enticing proposition than their meagre biog would suggest.

So while Crisis, What Crisis? – the opener on this fine 2-track EP – does suggest some sense of a lost weekend, what we’re dealing with here is the bleary-eyed comedown; the inbetween hours when laboured, swollen-tongued conversations grind to a halt; the 9am tequila shots you pour but never drink; the moment when the party you swore you’d never leave finally, decisively, ends. And it is a wretched joy to listen to, as gorgeous, chiming, seasick guitars swirl around plaintive, exhausted vocals, with a chorus chock-full of denial, and a slow surge of latent energy that culminates with the entire band chanting, with chilling sincerity, “WE ARE THE PLAGUE / WE ARE THE SWARM.” Freddie Mercury may never have said so in song, but I’m reasonably certain that from time to time, as the dust settled from the night before, he’d have known exactly what they mean.

Empty Head, by comparison, is slight, but still intriguing: guitars reminiscent of the Jon Hart Trio are married with a curious baroque disco backing, electro keyboard swoops and falsetto vocals – those Duran Duran self-comparisons proving not entirely wide of the mark – and whilst the song itself doesn’t linger, the creeping, brooding sense of dread pervades. Something Plastic may not prove ideal material for Friday night pre-pub drinking, but there’s enough evidence here to suggest that Broken Shapes, like their more celebrated genre-warping peers The Horrors and Breton, may yet take their disparate influences and forge a self-contained Universe of their own.



Article reprinted with permission from
B-Side Magazine