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The balance of restraint is something hardly found in pop music. Finding a song touching on it in indie pop is even rarer — and intriguing. However, brand-spanking-new Belfast group Tuskany does just that in their new single “Shapes.”
Tuskany burst on to the indie scene late last year. Whether it’s their newness to the scene or an intentional Daft Punk-esque approach to audience and social media, the mystery around Tuskany makes them even more engaging. Their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter profiles are full of teasers — pastel cutouts of different shapes (I see what you did there) covering up both their facial features in their profile pictures makes it almost impossible to identify them. No matter their identity, Tuskany’s first single — the catchy “Better Time” — was released on April 1 and has already garnered a number of remixes by several different artists. The group’s second single “Shapes” is an even catchier indie-pop anthem — with plenty of guitar to satisfy the most “indie” of the indie-pop crowd.
Listen: “Shapes” – Tuskany
Kicking off with plenty of xylophone-esque synth, “Shapes” explores the all-too-familiar sensation of meeting a particularly captivating person while out. However, “Shapes” deviates from the typical pop formula of I-met-them-at-the-bar/club-and-we-drank-and-danced-and-then-it-became-something-more, etc. and instead explores the concept of restraint in this exact situation. As the vocals come in, a very different take on the average pop situation is offered. The speaker suggests that the other party go home–by themselves–as they (and most likely, by extension, the speaker as well) have “had enough.” If the other party stays, there’s the very real possibility of this turning into something more—cleverly left to the imagination with the trailing-off line “If we carry on we might as well just…”
Why don’t you take yourself home, yeah you’ve had enough
If we carry on we might as well just….
As the song progresses, so does the concept of restraint. Lines like “I’ll let you change my mind” show how both people in the situation are responsible for what happens next – it’s not just the speaker powerless to the other’s charms, or vice versa. Both have a say in what happens next in the narrative.
Upon reaching the falsetto-heavy chorus, we find the speaker “all over” the opposite party–but only inside his head. In an unexpected twist on the archetypal club tale, he chooses the road less-traveled and restrains himself–warning both himself and the subject that if they stay here any longer, they might both end up making bad decisions. It’s a lighter, more positive take on a situation that could easily go either shockingly well or terribly awry and a refreshingly human take on a typical pop scenario.
Though the speaker notes that he “swears” he’s “had this dream before,” the entire song is markedly different in its angle–largely due to the upbeat instrumentals. “Shapes” has enough synth to please more dance-prone fans and a guitar solo solid enough to hook rock fans. The heavily-electronic beat that begins the song continues to keep the tempo throughout, ensuring the dance-ready beat is steady. Coupled with the song’s message and plenty of falsetto, “Shapes” has enough to please any pop (or rock) fans.
No matter which camp you fall into – whether you’re more into synthpop, synthrock, or something else entirely – Tuskany’s “Shapes” is a contender for the perfect going-out anthem. With its unique take on a typical situation and dance-ready beat, “Shapes” is shaping up to be Tuskany’s hottest, most fun release yet.