Tiger Team, 2006
REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/07/2007
Shapes Of Race Cars does not set itself apart from the hundreds of other pop/rock bands making music. The band straddles the line between pop punk and the sound of the White Stripes, sounding like they're having fun but not really offering anything people haven't heard.
Like most debuts, one can play "spot the influence." The title track is straight off a White Stripes album to the point where Jack should consider either suing or inviting singer Dylan Champion to join the Raconteurs. "Passenger" takes its cue from Television's Marquee Moon album before devolving into a sort of Smashing Pumpkins/Good Charlotte pastiche, but it's not nearly as exciting as it sounds. "Kraftwerk (Invented The Disco Beat)" is a true oddity, looking back to 80s pop for inspiration and further disabusing the notion that Shapes Of Race Cars is a rock band, which it seems to want to be.
The disc is produced by Jun Murakawa, who has worked with Queens Of The Stone Age, and that sound is prevalent here -- heavy on the buzzsaw guitars and the clicking drums, and light on the bass end. For "Sound The Alarm," this approach works, as the upbeat song is influenced by the Ramones and bops along with handclaps. It's very glam rock, which makes sense given Champion's eponymous former band.
But it's one of the few highlights of the disc, which is on the whole unmemorable and too derivative of the pop/rock and pop/punk glut that has clogged the airwaves in the last few years. Shapes Of Race Cars will be at home on college rock stations and teen movies; it's a band with promise, and one that can probably rock, but also one that needs to find its own sound and style if it has any hope of survival.