ither there’s an evolution/revolution going on down in the hills of Tennessee or someone has spiked the water supply with a chemical blend of adrenaline and amphetamine, because the Riff Rock sounds emanating from the state these days could strip the bark off a redwood tree at 50 paces.
The latest case in point is Nashville, Tenn., trio Sound & Shape, whose releases to date (2006’s Where Machines End Their Lives, 2009’s The Love Electric, 2011’s Now Comes the Mystery and 2012’s Hourglass) have been prime examples of a heartland perspective on Led Zeppelin and Mars Volta. Those recording efforts were mere tune-ups for the main event: Bad Actors, the band’s recently released and fully realized sophomore full-length album.
With Bad Actors, Sound & Shape crafts a sonic presence that bristles with Indie Rock verve while flexing Prog Rock muscles and coloring the proceedings with hints of sugary Pop melodics. From the hypercaffeinated Foo Fighters pace of opening track “The Laughing Lovers” to the Dream Theater-flecked bombast of “Heavy is the Head” to the Jimmy Eats World jangle Rock of “Hemingway on Broken Hearts,” Sound & Shape taps into a veritable who’s who of influences to create their familiar but unique identity.
Guitarist/vocalist Ryan Caudle peels off Classic Rock/Metal riffs that resonate with Pop atmospherics and channel some of the most powerful six-string inspirations in the history of electric music, while Sound & Shape’s relatively new rhythm section, bassist/vocalist Gaines Cooper and drummer Grant Bramlett, build a sturdy yet adaptable foundation for any framework that Caudle provides.
If local references are required before you can make up your mind, Sound & Shape opened for the Buffalo Killers when they played Nashville’s Stone Fox back in November; there’s your Good Rockkeeping Seal of Approval.
SOUND & SHAPE plays at Southgate House Revival Thursday, Jan. Find tickets/more info here .