Released: 30th June 2017
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In the forward-thinking, exciting Glasgow of pre-Britpop, there was a sense of new possibilities in the air arising from the death of Rock music and what could be achieved by surpassing its limitations. One of the most legendary - but seldom known outside of Glasgow - groups, were Dawson, a jerky, jazzed up punk band who broke new ground. Sumshapes is a regrouping of 3 original members Richie Dempsey, Ali Begbie and Jer Reid and while the links to that band are there, this is a new stew.
Sumshapes are a power trio of virtuoso dimensions. Instrumentally the bass, guitar and drums gel with a telepathic fluidity, angular rhythms and micro-melodies flying about in the fray. Drummer Dempsey is on fire through-out, with a joyful mastery of the traps that is a joy to listen to, with abrupt starts and timing changes breaking out like wide smiles. Guitarist Jer Reid, a spidery guitarist with many genres and styles at his fingers resulting in a distinctive style of his own, decorates the rhythms with sparkling tones and distorted riffs. On the bass, Ali Begbie alternates between elastic, angular near-funk work to an instinctive, out-of-the-box approach to rhythm. Vocals are delivered by both string players in an off-the-cuff, decidedly charming fashion. Think a more erratic Minutemen shot through with the shape of jazz punk to come.