Various Artists : Imagine the Shapes

Jeff Terich

What’s Your Rupture? hasn’t been a label for all that long, but in their few short years of existence, they’ve released records by some of the most exciting rock bands both stateside and abroad. Last year, they launched a signal flare worldwide with the release of Love Is All’s Nine Times That Same Song, a hyperactive Swedish post-punk explosion that landed in many a year-end list (including ours), and made the label one for everyone to keep their eyes and ears on. Further proving the vitality of the New York based imprint is Imagine the Shapes, a compilation collecting four vinyl singles, one each by Love Is All, caUSE co-MOTION!, the Long Blondes and Comet Gain, and in that order. More than just a sampler, this disc is a summation of what the label is all about, namely, taut, fuzzy post-punk.

The three songs here by Love Is All are all featured on their full-length, though their vinyl versions are scratchier and far rawer. Nonetheless, “Spinning and Scratching,” “Make Out Fall Out Make Up” and “Ageing Had Never Been His Friend” are fantastic songs in any medium, and their inclusion here only adds to the anticipation of the eleven songs that follow. caUSE co-MOTION! is up next, their track “Baby Don’t Do It” ending almost as soon as it begins, all lo-fi fuzz and Television Personalities-like sloppiness. “This Just Won’t Last” and “This Time Next Year” follow suit, blending reverb-laden guitar melodies with endearingly off-key vocals, making for an exercise in awkwardly loveable indie pop.

Perhaps the most exciting and diverse of the array presented on Imagine the Shapes are the four tracks provided by The Long Blondes. “Giddy Stratospheres” is a sophisticated and sexy jangle-pop track, fronted by the cool and glamorous Kate Jackson, while “Polly” has more of a ’50s-style doo-wop sound. “Autonomy Boy” is more abrasive and punk-influenced by comparison, sounding like a great lost single from 1979, militant and rigid, yet still exuding the sexy charm that the group is known for. “Darts” is a little bit shabbier and drunken, but still irresistible in its fun call-and-response chorus and woozy riffs.

Comet Gain, the seasoned veterans of the bunch, close out the compilation with a trio of tracks from their “Beautiful Despair” single. That very track is among the best songs on the compilation, a dense and fuzz-drenched garage pop song that also sounds like another lost seven-inch, but one from 1968, rather than ’79. “Never Die” has a Dinosaur Jr.-like indie rock heroicness, riffs blazing and vocals harmonizing better than anyone would imagine that a sloppy indie rock outfit could. The spoken word drone of “Mainlining Mystery” closes off the album, an eccentric, albeit accessible exit that slows down the nearly endless stream of ultra high-energy indie pop. Imagine The Shapes is merely a beginning, a cross section of the talent that has crossed paths with the young label and judging by its offering here, one can only expect more wonderful and exciting releases to come.

Similar Albums:
Love Is All – Nine Times That Same Song
Various Artists – Labrador 100: A Complete History of Popular Music
Various Artists – Patron Saints of Teenage

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The Long Blondes - Imagine the Shapes

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