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Candle To Your Eyes
Shapes and Sizes Candle To Your Eyes
Released 30 July 2010
Producer Dave Bryant
Label Asthmatic Kitty
Length 40:39
Genre Alternative, indie, rock
Website myspace.com/shapesandsizes

Candle To Your Eyes is the third album from Shapes and Sizes, a band that are anything but formulaic. Their music is a miscellany of different styles and ideas strung together to create a disorientating collection of songs with a constantly shifting landscape. The unpredictability works; you’re left guessing as to how a song will play out, never quite sure when or how it will end. It was also nice to satisfy my inner cynic, safe in the knowledge that no tracks were intentionally written as chart toppers or enduring love songs.

The instrumentation on Candle To Your Eyes is generally sparse; single notes played on guitar instead of continuous chords, the drum beats are a low key affair while the keyboard is used sparingly for short piano parts or sound effects. The exception is the bass which drives the band forward alternating between a rhythmic and a lead instrument depending on what’s required. While the music may at times be simplistic it is nonetheless effective. Most songs hinge on one moment of inspiration; the military drum style build up of 'Tell Your Mum', the distorted bass line on 'You Don’t Have to Drink from Here' or the recurring guitar line on 'Too Late for Dancing'.

The biggest surprise of Candle To Your Eyes is Caila Thompson-Hannant’s vocals, taking lead on six of the nine tracks. She mixes sultry with menacing and hits the high notes with an ease reminiscent of Kate Bush and Marcella Detroit, skipping through the octaves in an effortless fashion. Her performance on the sexually charged 'The Hit Parade' is close to vocal perfection, leaving you wondering if this woman is a temptress or a bunny boiler, but never in any doubt that she’s in charge.

As a result of Thompson-Hannant’s performance, the songs with guitarist Rory Seydel on lead vocals are less interesting by default. 'Sing Them Songs' and 'I Need an Outlet' just feel a bit flat in comparison and are not helped by the whiny affectation he adopts. He partially redeems himself with '23 and Rizing', avoiding the whine and showing himself to being a capable vocalist but a distant second within his band.

Candle To Your Eyes is an album that needs to be given patience, it all seems a bit strange on the first listen but grows on you as you become more accustomed to the peculiarity. It’s possible that Shapes and Sizes could carve out a whole career completely under the mainstream radar which is unfortunate as this is a band that needs to be heard.

- Brian Kinsella