In just the two years that they have been a band, New York City’s Walking Shapes have accomplished quite a bit. While their latest release, Taka Come On, has been billed as their first album, Mixtape(Vol. 1) is truly their debut onto the scene, leading them to perform with indie rock giants The Temper Trap as well as taking their act nationwide with a tour this past spring.
The album opens with “Pusher,” which unfortunately lacks the momentum that is needed to kick off the record. However, it does introduce the listener to Walking Shapes’ unique style, bringing the song to its finale in an array of airy, electronic sound effects before coming to an unexpected end. The band dabbles in many different genres throughout the LP, from R&B to retro pop to bits of progressive rock. “Elle Deadsex” is much more crazed than some of the others on the full-length, channeling the vibes of experimental punk with slightly manic (yet catchy) guitars and a vocal style to match. The group also covers Frank Ocean’s “Lost” with the help of singer-songwriter Seasick Mama, who shares lead vocal duties with frontman Nathaniel Hoho, putting a completely new spin on the single. Though the disc boasts 13 tracks, three are the remixes that close out the album, including an excellent version of “Lighter.”
What makes Mixtape (Vol. 1) as charming as it is are the tiny, intricate details that are found within each track: the rhythmic breathing on “Horse,” the screaming in the background of “Champagne,” and the fading, conversing voices on “Bison.” These are unexpected and pull the listener back into the music, recapturing their attention. There is craftsmanship found down to the most subtle note on the record, making it a fantastic debut.