Two songs in to the debut full length by Dallas trio Shapes Stars Make, I was having a hard time differentiating their music from that of Explosions In The Sky. But as soon as the third song, "(We Are) The Hurting" started, the differences began to make themselves clear.
A subdued, beautiful vocal track, "(We Are) The Hurting" is an anthem for those who just don't seem to fit in. Guitarist/vocalist Michael Gooden sings "The lonely are lovely/The hurting are holy" over a relaxed bed of guitar, bass and drums.
The band, which also features Jon Cook on bass and synths and Zachary Edwards on drums, then continues to separate itself from the pack of Explosions sound-alike bands with a strong emphasis on melody over some of the looser post-rock music out there. There are also two more tracks featuring vocals, with a highlight being "The Calm". A slower ballad that musically personifies the phrase "The calm before the storm" sung during the song as it builds from it's quiet beginning to a storm of guitar at the end.
Other recommended tracks include the instrumentals "Be Gentle, Young One" and album closer "And The Sky Opened", both melodically lovely, with the latter adding some electronic effects to the band's sound. An album that leaves you enthused to hear more in the future from Shapes Stars Make.
"These Mountains Are Safe" was released January 19, 2010 in the U.S. on Dreamt Music/Facedown Records.