Single Review: Bent Shapes – “Panel of Experts”/ “Bites and Scratches”

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Band: Bent Shapes
Songs: “Panel of Experts” and “Bites and Scratches”
Release Date: 12/12/12

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Bent Shapes live a couple of times this fall and in both instances nearly every song had at least one memorable quality. In fact, their Bandcamp page (http://bentshapes.bandcamp.com/album/demo) contains some of these fine pop tunes. With this release, the trio further this reputation, adding two more catchy, jangly numbers to their catalog.  The first song “Panel of Experts” kicks off with some simple, steady drumming from Andy Sadoway and soon vocalist/guitarist Ben Potrykus and vocalist/bassist Supriya Gunda chime in with sunny guitar riffs that remind me of Weezer. I know I’ve compared Bent Shapes to Weezer before, and believe me they extend beyond that comparison, but I can’t help but note the easy on the ears, direct hooks that both bands possess. “Panel” is a catchy song, for sure, but I prefer the second half of this single – “Bites and Scratches.” This is a really killer tune. I distinctly remember this song sticking out during the live performances, so it is exciting to hear the final version. “Bites” is instantaneous, wrapping you in from the first few seconds – and Lord knows I’m a sucker for such pop songs. I hear a lot of pop songs about couples holding hands, but the words usually don’t mean much to me. And I’ll be honest, I don’t pay attention to lyrics that much anyway, but in this song Ben’s vocals are so strong I can easily picture him (or the character in this song) grabbing a girl’s hand and sharing in their mutual feeling of self-disgust or “damaged goods” as they call it. “Bites” exemplifies what I love about Bent Shapes: fun, but not the kind of fun you would have with Black Lips or The Migs. More along the lines of feeling sad, frustrated, and moody (don’t worry I’m getting to my point) – but not in an emo, stay alone in your room and listen to sad music sort of thing. More like, I feel like shit, but I’ll go to this party anyway, and stay up to watch the sun rise. And a hazy feeling of euphoria, “it will be alright,” takes over. I guess that means fun to me. If you can evoke those emotions in me in less than two minutes, then you get an A in my book.

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