According to frontman Steven Battelle, ‘Shapes Of Screams’ is a record with a purpose. Before its release, the band made it clear in interviews that their latest record would be a rebellion against the “formulaic and soulless metallic buzz” rock music has become, and will represent “a first wave of a fight back”. Well, you can’t deny that the music LostAlone have created on ‘Shapes Of Screams’ has soul. It’s fun, it’s bright and it’s very safe.
There’s ambition behind these new tracks. The scope is broader, the sound richer and shamelessly, infectiously poppy. Songs like ‘The Bells! The Bells!’ and ‘Mental Health’ have a certain theatrical flair with big, fist-pumping choruses, and it doesn’t take much of a mental leap to imagine Battelle and crew onstage with a full production: props, choirs, dancers, pyro, embellishing the broadway musical qualities of their sound. It’s all about as edgy as a Satsuma, but when closing track ‘Breathing In The Future Exhaling The Past’ reaches its finale, any semblance of what is cool or acceptable in the genre will be lost under a wave of fun.
There are weak moments scattered amongst the brash theatricality of it all which makes for a patchy listening experience. After the unabashed elation of ‘Crusaders’ and ‘Hostages (Destiny)’, there’s a noticeable slump in the middle of the album. ‘Sombre Party (Legacy)’ is bland and ‘I Was Born To End This Way’ lacks the magic that following track ‘Requiem’ delivers in excess. But, like any good stage production, it all comes good in the end with a show stopping finale and a good sing-along, provided here by the irrepressible “woah-oh”s of ‘Doooooooooomageddon (Global Thermonuclear Metafictional Warfare)’ and the choir vocals of ‘Breathing In The Future Exhaling The Past’. ‘Shapes Of Screams’ really does end in fantastic style.
It’s clear that Battelle wanted to put out the best music the band has ever written with ‘Shapes Of Screams’, and in this he has succeeded. It doesn’t quite achieve the kind of genre subversion LostAlone were shooting for; ground-breaking it isn’t, but this move towards a bigger sound and wholesale embrace of their pop sensibilities demonstrates potential for even more boisterous releases in the future.
Written by Grant Bailey
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.