Personnel: Kristen Drymala (cello); John Cushing, Kai Sandoval (trumpet, trombone).
Audio Mixer: Elio DeLuca.
Recording information: Soul Shop, Medford, MA (2015).
Photographer: Avi Paul Weinstein.
With a newly retooled lineup and some remarkably sharp songwriting, Boston's Bent Shapes serve up their best effort yet with Wolves of Want. After cutting their teeth under the name Girlfriends, singer/guitarist Ben Potrykus and drummer Andy Sadoway relaunched the project as Bent Shapes in 2012, issuing their debut, Feels Weird, the following year. Their jagged indie pop and post-punk blend showed plenty of promise, but there was still a feeling of a band that was trying to find its footing. The addition of guitarist Luke Brandfon and bassist/singer Jenny Mudarri seems to have done just that as Bent Shapes put all the pieces together on their sophomore release. Recorded to tape with minimal overdubs by Elio DeLuca (Titus Andronicus), Wolves of Want amplifies the band's nervy, literate bent, adding a new immediacy to their sound. Highlight cuts like opener "New Starts in Old Dominion" and "Realization Hits" pit Potrykus' biting observations against tight, jangling guitar leads and hooky melodies that recall bands like the Feelies and the Modern Lovers. Mudarri's tuneful harmonies are a welcome addition to the mix, adding a conversational interplay to Potrykus' hoarse incantations. The recordings themselves seem more vibrant and upfront and the band's clever arrangements feel like the result of epic rehearsals rather than careful studio craft. A few adornments like horns, cello, and piano add additional color to some of the tracks, but by and large, Bent Shapes are a ripping guitar band with pop smarts and punk sensibility. ~ Timothy Monger