Monday, 29 February 2016

NEW MUSIC MONDAY: The Shapers (+ 'Reckless Youth' EP review!)

Hello, and welcome to another installment of New Music Monday! The Shapers contacted me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I could review their EP, 'Reckless Youth'. Because of how busy I was last week I didn't get a chance to post the review, so I thought what better way to introduce you all to the band than by doing one big bumper post?
So without further ado, meet The Shapers:

(l-r: Nicolas, Anthony and Benoit)

The Shapers are a pure pop-punk band currently calling Toulouse, France, their home. Formed back in 2009, they gained a lot of early attention by touring - particularly in China and Indonesia, where they played for the first time in '11 and have since returned to twice.
The guys won a competition for being the best upcoming band back in 2013, which led to a North American tour with NOFX and Pennywise, but having also shared stages with The Flatliners, Gnarwolves and Silverstein, they've had some illustrious support slots so far.
Because they're from France they've obviously toured their home country extensively, but they're currently planning their first visit to the UK and it will not be coming a moment too soon.
The band released their debut album, 'Everybody Needs To Have A Dream', back in 2012, and they've followed it up with 'Reckless Youth', the EP which they released on the 26th of February.

Kicking off the EP with 'Can't Forget' (scroll down to watch the video for the track) is a perfect start: The Shapers call themselves pop-punk, and they prove it perfectly in three minutes. There's moments where it becomes almost dubstep in the middle, which is an inclusion I wasn't expecting, but with the "I can't forget, I can't forget" chant it's impossible not to get it stuck in your head. I can imagine this song working brilliantly in a live environment with an audience, and that's a good sign - The Shapers have toured so much that they definitely know how to write with a crowd in mind.
This is also demonstrated in 'Secrets', whose Good Charlotte-esque sound will get everyone up and dancing without a second thought. It's a little less frantic than 'Can't Forget', which makes it easier to appreciate the music - this isn't an unconquerable wall of sound (which I've heard from some pop-punk bands, believe me) but really shows off the nuances of the instruments and the skills of all of the members.
The grungiest song out of the six is 'Another Chance', which has a much heavier introduction than any of the other songs - it's another sound that they've conquered and have been able to add to their arsenal, which makes this a very unusual EP - it's diverse, but with Anthony's inimitable voice (complete with his extremely strong French accent on specific words, something I love) it's unapologetically The Shapers. This band know what they're doing and they're sure to gain many more fans by being brave and performing a range of tracks: they're all different, compared to some pop-punk bands who have ten songs that all sound the same. There are still some standard, stereotypical inclusions, such as the quieter section in the middle that then kicks back in double-time, but it feels tongue-in-cheek and fun rather than a super serious decision.
The biggest surprise for me is 'Lonely Moments', which is two minutes of acoustic guitar: a little interlude to split the EP. The first half of 'Reckless Youth' is frenetic and powerful, hardly pausing to take a breath, whereas 'Lonely Moments' takes it right back to the bare bones of the music and sounds utterly beautiful. It's a brave move, but it shows another side of the band and it's a wonderful difference.
Following it up with 'No Regrets', which also starts off acoustically, is a great way to segue back into the EP - it shows of Anthony's guitar playing skills, but it also shines a light on his vocal that wasn't there on the opening three songs. This band is not a one-trick pop-punk pony: they have range, and they will go far if they keep using it in such an effective way.
Closing track 'Youth Disaster' is definitely the most powerful song on the record, with the chorus "I know I can get through the worst time, I grab on to music to survive" sure to resonate deeply with any listeners and be a song that a lot of people can easily relate to. It almost feels like a reply song to blink-182's 'Stay Together For The Kids', as it includes lyrics like "When I'm home my parents fight, I'm a punching bag" and it's musically reminiscent to blink in a really appealing way. The song ends with a split vocal that sounds beautiful, and it's a brilliant ending to one of the most varied EPs I've ever listened to.
I hadn't listened to The Shapers until they sent me their EP through, but I'm not going to forget them any time soon.
The band released 'Can't Forget', the opening track, at the end of last year, and it has a wonderful video to accompany it:

Interested in hearing 'Reckless Youth' for yourself? It's available on iTunes, so don't delay in checking it out!

If you'd like to hear more from The Shapers, visit their Youtube channel as it has a few of their older songs available for listening. You can also follow the band on Twitter, find them on Facebook, or check out their website.

If you have a band and you'd like to be featured in New Music Monday, you can contact me on Twitter or through my contact page. Thank you for checking out this post, see you next week!

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