Two songs on The Shapes We Make show the influence moving back to Washington, D.C., has had on Mary Timony's writing. The spritely "Sharpshooter" as close as the ex-Helium frontwoman gets to out-and-out indie-pop these days sees wildlife turning the tables on trigger-happy hunters ("Ted Nugent, hey whatcha gonna do?/Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?"); the less linear "Pause/Off" warns the sitting Supreme Court to keep its grubby paws off Roe vs. Wade. Sonically, Shapes is a sequel to 2005's Ex Hex, a lively tug-o-war between Timony's long-running default modes: sweet modal Ren Faire rock and synthed-up prog. Molded with collaborators bassist Chad Molter and drummer/producer Devin Ocampo who now belong to a band proper as opposed to assisting in the realizing of a solo vision Timony's latest batch of tunes wax and wane between intimately serious and sassily anthemic. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference.
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