Shaped Like Swans

Rain EP

Written by: AP on 08/10/2011 00:09:22

Shaped Like Swans spawned from the Valby district of Copenhagen in late 2010 when former Road to Manila vocalist Jesper Vicencio Gün moved from Fredericia to the capital. The band, completed by guitarists Nicklas G. Thomsen and Nicholas Meents, bassist Ole Palm Schwartz, and session drummer Chris Kreutzfeldt, plays a concoction of metalcore and post-hardcore in best Danish fashion, leaving little room for surprises on this debut EP, "Rain".

The EP contains two songs as well as an eponymous interlude connecting the two in a seamless fashion that the band likes to compare to that employed by Between the Buried and Me on "Colors", the first of which at first sounds like standard fare metalcore with an archetypical lo-tone riff and obligatory horror chords, but towards the middle and especially in the end of the song Shaped Like Swans have taken care to include atmospheric passages as well; ones that immediately bring to mind Kreutzfeldt's dayjob Scarred by Beauty at their most melodic. The following ambient interlude, "Rain", passes without much fanfare, segueing into "Renovatio", which is undoubtedly the stronger track on offer here. Not only does it feature some inventive riffs (listen in, for instance, around the 01:10 mark), it also places much more emphasis on the band's melodic tendencies and emits a sense of experimentation.

It is difficult to judge a band based on what is essentially two songs, but given what is provided there are at least a few areas to point out where improvement is needed. One is the production, also handled by Kreutzfeldt, which accentuates the low end of the mix, and especially the drums far too much - this becomes frustratingly evident during parts where he makes generous use of his two bass pedals, as well as during the aforementioned low-end riffs heard in both "To Dream is to be Alive" and "Renovatio". A second problem, at least for me, is that the EP rolls by too swiftly to make a proper impact. There simply isn't enough to listen to here to adjust to Shaped Like Swans' sound and understand it in the right context. According to the band's Facebook page a fourth song was actually recorded, only to be dropped from the release due to its failure to adhere to the general free-flowing aesthetic of the EP.

Certainly from what is provided on the EP it is easy to hear that Shaped Like Swans have the collective experience necessary for writing solid songs. It will be interesting to see how the band intends to develop their sound on future material, and indeed if they have sufficient breadth in their influences to put out a diverse full-length that won't outstay its welcome as similar releases by other Danish bands tend to. In any case "Rain" is a solid debut EP that hits a market segment not too strongly represented in the country at the moment. This could prove to be Shaped Like Swans' greatest advantage, but only time can tell.

Download: To Dream is to be Alive, Renovatio
For the fans of: Scarred by Beauty, Walking With Strangers, While She Sleeps
Listen: Facebook

Release date 17.08.2011

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