Shapes and Sizes

Victoria is a charming London in miniature (even the police sirens have that European wail rather than the standard North American whistle) carved into the brilliant and wet wilds on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The subtexts for the city, if you’re into that kind of thing, abound: a bite-sized cosmopolis carved into the heart of darkness, a town with the will of a city, a beachhead in the Garden of Eden. Shapes and Sizes are fantastic at finding that subtext, whether they’re trying or not. They hit rhythms and mimic styles like urbane pros, but they experiment like small-town kids with only themselves as inspiration. “Wilderness” lumbers along like a pessimistic comedian, hinging itself on a medley of downer horns, a charmingly amateur chorus of whistles, and the line “Susan, you can’t be tribal leader ‘coz your personality’s wrong.” It provides the perfect segueway to the melancholy opening (but not so down that it can’t hold a few handclaps!) to “Island’s Gone Bad,” but halfway through a party breaks out to the exuberant shout “I like eating fruit off of trees when I’m with you!” Aw shucks, guys, the feeling’s mutual.

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