Shapes & Sizes Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner

There are some good ideas on this album but thrown together haphazardly as they are, it’s nearly impossible to get a sense of the bigger picture. Are Shapes and Sizes a math rock band? A post-emo/indie rock band? A skittish pop band? One genre turns into another within seconds, creating a puzzling mess — the band are too rared-up to sit down and develop their ideas and influences pragmatically. There are some coherent moments in which the band’s talents are apparent (i.e., the keyboard parts at the end of "Geese”) but for every clear gesture there are myriad random chord progressions, waywardly shifting key signatures and episodes of slow, atonal cooing that occur awkwardly in the middle of the cacophony. The band’s scatterbrained manner might be completely intentional but it does not often come across that way. This is not to say that Shapes & Sizes are hopeless; it’s great that they’re so excited about the music they make and their talent often shines through the nebula. They would benefit, however, from a deep breath and a time out. (A Brand New Theory)