Rhythm & Views

The Impossible Shapes

Horus is the name of a whole bunch of Egyptian deities, and is usually associated with kingliness and depicted as a hawk. One myth says that the first Horus had the sun and the moon as his eyes; when there was no moon, poor Horus was rendered blind, and was not a very nice guy. Indiana quartet The Impossible Shapes' record Horus makes indirect reference to a few aspects of this tale; there are songs titled "I Move by the Moon" and "Sundance," and there are more references to demons than kingly gods. As a whole, Horus is more the essence of myth. The lyrics and sad arpeggios are simple and concretely metaphoric, giving ethereal qualities to the ordinary.

The Impossible Shapes are the kid brothers of the Elephant 6 collective, with a slightly sharper edge. On "Survival," that edge becomes full-on rock, but mostly, the Impossible Shapes execute their songs more exactly than bands like Olivia Tremor Control. The guitars are crisp; the changes to minor keys flawless and perfectly unsettling, the bass filling in the spaces between guitar notes; the drums quiet and almost tribal. Singer/ songwriter/guitarist Chris Barth (who also plays in John Wilkes Booze) sounds strangely like Jeremy Enigk of Sunny Day Real Estate on "I Move by the Moon," "The Princess" and "Putrefication," and the Impossible Shapes revel in the same realm as the Elephant 6 bands and SDRE--melancholic, melodic and mythic.

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