Published Jul 02, 2010In 2006, Victoria, BC-based four-piece Shapes and Sizes caught the attention of Sufjan Stevens, who promptly signed them to his Asthmatic Kitty label. In that same year, the band released their scatterbrained self-titled debut before moving to Vancouver and recording their polarizing follow-up, 2007's Split Lips, Winning Hips, a Shiner. Three years later and after a move to Montreal, Shapes and Sizes have finally prepped, Candle to Your Eyes, a record the moves away from the band's self-described "obnoxious" sound to a more "subdued" approach.
Speaking to Exclaim! in a recent interview, guitarist Nathan Gage shed some light on the band's recent dormancy. "We've been having lives outside the band in Montreal," he explains. "We toured quite a bit after the second album, and when we moved to Montreal there was a period of touring, but we had to rest for a while. [Singer Rory Seydel] got married and we all have jobs. It wasn't a full-on hiatus, but we didn't let the band take centre stage for a little while. "
Eventually, Shapes and Sizes felt they needed to start work on a third album. The record was initially recorded at Montreal's legendary Hotel2Tango, but due to loose time constraints, it was edited at home as well. "It was really drawn out," Gage says of the recording process. "We recorded at the Hotel2Tango and then we mixed most of the record and realized we wanted more, so we brought it to a friend's house and did some overdubs. It was a really long, drawn-out process but it ended up really well. It felt like we had to squeeze it out in that process. For whatever reason, I think that incubation period helped the record a lot."
The result is Candle to Your Eyes, a nine-track effort that is decidedly quieter than the band's self-described "obnoxious" early records. "It feels like we were able to take a step back and maybe mature a little bit," Gage says. "We have different ideas about music now. The songs themselves are a little more subdued and have a little more distance to them, and also because Dave Bryant, who we mixed with... brought his own aesthetic to it, which helped a lot, but made it more subdued as well."
Despite calling them "obnoxious," Gage says he's still proud of his band's early records, saying, "I don't think we're the only people who like to distance themselves from their old work and go through a period of hating their old stuff, but I listened to it fairly recently and I'm still pretty happy with it."
Asthmatic Kitty will release Candle to Your Eyes on August 3 via Asthmatic Kitty. The song "Tell Yr Mum" can be streamed on the band's MySpace page, and North American tour dates are forthcoming.
Candle to Your Eyes:
1. "Tell Your Mum"
2. "Sing Them Songs"
3. "You Don't Have to Drink from Here"
4. "Too Late for Dancing"
5. "Time Has Practically Stopped"
6. "I Need an Outlet"
7. "23 and Rizing"
8. "The Hit Parade"
9. "Old Worlds"