The Impossible Shapes: “Bombs” (download)
The Impossible Shapes: “Putrefaction” (download)
The Impossible Shapes: “Demon Love” (download)
I don’t like making lists of my top albums for each year. I’m always interested to read others’ lists, but I don’t like making my own. I’ll probably make one for this year, anyhow, since I’ve got this here mp3 blog, but it’s just a thing with me. I can’t really explain except to say that usually it’s because a) I don’t like ranking things in general (which is a long story that’s hard to explain, so I’m not going to bother), and b) so much music is released each year, and it’s practically impossible to listen to all of it, even most of it, and I don’t like making lists of the best this and that without feeling like I’m really, truly informed and qualified to speak on the matter.
That said, if I had made a list of my top releases from 2005, I would have to retroactively add Horus very near the top of that list. Quite awhile back, I came across the mp3 for “Bombs” on the internet somewhere (couldn’t tell you where, exactly — I think it might’ve been Pitchfork’s free mp3 page). After listening to it over and over again for several months, I finally remembered the band & album name (I usually forget exactly what I want to buy the minute I walk in a record store, which is dangerous, because usually that means I end up browsing and buying tons of albums, none of which are what I originally came for, which means I usually go back awhile later) when I was in a record store in Seattle this spring. I was worried about being let down since I had loved “Bombs” so much, but I wasn’t let down at all — in fact, I was impressed.
Genre-wise, it’s easy enough to throw the Impossible Shapes into the neo-psych category, and that sort of works, but is also sort of deceiving. Horus doesn’t conjure images of people sitting around in their house tripping balls, but of people tripping balls out in the woods, possibly performing some kind of strange cultish ritual, or maybe just laying about in large hooded robes. The album has a very haunting, ethereal aesthetic to it — and this is reinforced by track names with words like “demon” and “princess” in them, and also by the album title (Horus is an egyptian diety — the one pictured on the album cover).
This is a bold statement, I know, but Horus is a perfect album in a lot of ways. The Impossible Shapes set a sound, and they stick with it. But they don’t bore you. My problem with a lot of albums is that these days, albums lack a lot of variety within themselves. A good album, to me, is one that has enough variety and flavor to keep you interested enough that you listen to the whole thing (and can do so repeatedly without growing tired of it), but not so much that it sounds disjointed. With Horus, the Impossible Shapes nailed this — almost. The one fatal mis-step that keeps Horus from reaching any sort of complete perfection is the inclusion of “Survival,” a garage-rocking track that is completely, utterly out of place, disrupting the flow of the album entirely.
Still, Horus is a hidden gem under the cracks of last year’s big releases — and it’s only a record store away.