Published Jan 01, 2006Its not every day that Sufjan Stevens takes an unknown Canadian band to lunch in New York, much signs them to his burgeoning label, Asthmatic Kitty. Yet Victorias Shapes and Sizes broke bread, got signed after submitting an unsolicited demo and earned praise from the indie rockers father-in-law. "[Sufjans father-in-law] really enjoys the chance taking on this album and that weve really been able to go out on a limb, says the bands bassist Nathan Gage.
Ringing endorsements arent limited to Stevens immediate family: the entire Asthmatic Kitty camp has plenty of nice things to say about this foursome. Most of the comments involve words like, "theatrical or "ambitious; even guitarist and singer Rory Seydel uses "chaos to illustrate Shapes and Sizes sound.
Initially, listeners might be more inclined to describe their self-titled debut as intelligent indie rock, but theres a lot more going on than just breezy chords and complex harmonies. "Our musics like applesauce, says Seydel. "You cut it up and throw it all together and it takes a really long time to cook down.
Part of the records recipe includes oddly placed riffs, wild tempo changes and plenty of jazz chord progressions. Other tracks feature a flurry of horns, handclaps, and ukulele. "You can only hear so much guitar before going crazy, says Seydel. "We like to pack as many instruments into a recording as possible.
Despite all the extra noises and experimentation, Shapes and Sizes (including Caila Thompson-Hannant on vocals and Jon Crellin on drums) are definitely rooted in pop. "Islands Gone Bad is a great sing-along number, while "Weekends At a Time could have been pulled from the Superfriendz Slide Show songbook. Their mix of quirk and pop also brings to mind Stevens, one of their musical heroes and now boss. "It was great that Asthmatic Kitty got back to us. It seemed it was all by chance, but the more we thought about it and the more we talked to them about it, this seemed like a really amazing fit.