Album Review: The Future Shape Of Sound – “Shakedown Gospel”
Signed to the Urban Voodoo Machine’s Gypsy Hotel records, The Future Shape of Sound are just as much of an enjoyably off-the-wall proposition as you’d expect given their connections and the cover photo of a group of shady looking coves hanging out in some disreputable bordello.
The opening two songs – Gone All Wrong and I’m On A Roll are hellhound-on-my-tail blues rock put through a Tarantino soundtrack filter and do a nice job of well and truly drawing you in, but just when you think you’ve got this album figured out, Joy and Rise Up promptly hit you with a suckerpunch by throwing a spot of gospel and jazz into the mix, underpinned by a driving rock ‘n’ roll beat to surprisingly good effect. It’s pretty obvious even at this early stage that Future Shape of Sound are very much not a group for sticking to convention, and all power to them.
The smoky voodoo drums and harmonica of Number One see none other than Jim Jones pop up with a great slice of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins style swamp blues not a million miles from the Righteous Mind. The creeping People What You Done follows it up nicely before the frenetic big beat rhythms of The Time Is Now (both the aforementioned featuring Sumi Sumatra on vocals) pick up the pace again. Big Boy Bloater shows up to provide vocals on the excellent rockabilly blues of Toe The Line before the almost northern soul style instrumental of The Shakedown and No Friend Of Mine, which builds from a stripped down gospel opening into a frenetic slice of skiffle to sign this one off in style.
Sometimes in your life as a reviewer, you occasionally get the feeling that everything’s just repeating itself, and that 90% of the stuff that’s landed on your desk in recent months just sounds like half-arsed retreads of what’s gone before. So it’s always nice to come across a band not only having the guts to strike out and do something genuinely different, but to actually pull it off pretty damn well as well. This is definitely one of those times and Shakedown Blues puts a good majority of the stuff I’ve heard so far this year well and truly to shame. Highly recommended.
Colour me impressed, this is a GREAT album. Similar to their close associates the Voodoos and the Righteous Mind, The Future Shape of Sound take influences from everywhere and anywhere they damn feel like and throw them into the melting pot to create something genuinely awesome. If you're struck with the feeling that 2018 has been a bit of an underwhelming year musically, then pick up a copy of Shakedown Blues and let your faith be restored.