‘Wolves of Want’ By Bent Shapes Album Review: Poignant Songwriting With Dark World View
Wolves of Want is the second and so far the best musical effort by Boston-based indie band Bent Shapes. In their sophomore album, the indie pop-rock band heavily explores a poignant songwriting side, letting the lyrics do most of the work rather than the music itself. This doesn’t make the album any less pleasant — in fact, the music is extremely engaging, but on Wolves of Want it remains in the background of a wordy and prolific ideas.
‘Wolves of Want’ by Bent Shapes Album Review
As it becomes clear from songs like ” the songwriting using some pretty hefty vocabulary but not without a certain sense of irony delivered through a tension between the music and the lyrics. Songs like opener “New Starts in Old Dominion” and “Realization Hits” are starkly observant and candid, presenting a somewhat pessimistic worldview, yet the apparent discrepancy between the funky upbeat melody and the lyrics makes these songs intriguing to say the least and give the listener some sort of hopefulness and elation in light of the bleak outlook on life.
Sonically, Bent Shapes resemble a blend of even more hyped The Strokes and a slightly stripped down Panic! At The Disco with occasional moments of early Arctic Monkeys. The band has some room for improvement if they are to reach the status of the aforementioned big names in the genre, specifically a more streamlined sound to back up the almost insolently bold and self-important songwriting.
It is not until the last song titled “Intransitive Verbs” that Bent Shapes are truly onto something. The stripped down melody is perhaps out of character for the album, but this is what is most effective about this track. It strikes a more personal chord with guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Ben Potrykus’ simple confession about his demons and fears. The offbeat delivery of each line and Potrykus’ plain-spoken vocals make the lyrics even more emotional and poignant: “But if I lose my persistent fear of death / Won’t somebody please call my therapist / ’cause I’ve been working so long to prove myself wrong / When I guessed puberty would be my midlife crisis.” The track is still as witty and blunt but devoid of the arrogance some of the other songs have. Potrykus bears an inner sensitivity that is lacking on most of the album, but makes for a splendid closer of the record.
Wolves of Want is an album reeking of sadness and world-weariness, but it doesn’t strike the listener as such right away. It presupposes an intelligence or at least an undivided attention to understand the meaning behind Potrykus and Bent Shapes’ sound and lyrics. They envision a constantly shifting world at disarray and point out everything that is wrong with it but do so in an almost optimistic manner, even though the album is diagnostic of a world condition rather than prescriptive about how to improve it.
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