Hangman’s Alphabet – Unbend the Shape

Hangman's Alphabet - Unbend the Shape

Hangman's Alphabet - Unbend the Shape

Boston-based rock trio Hangman’s Alphabet debut, Unbend the Shape, mixes prog-rock, post-punk and indie-rock with varying degrees of success. The resulting hybrid is an angular math-rock with complex and layered romps played with precision but without many hooky melodies.

The choppy songs are filled with crunchy, prog-rock riffing and tight, challenging instrumental passages executed with skill. But instead of using these jagged rhythms and irregular tempos to build up robust songs with clever outcomes, they fall flat.

Old-school prog would build up tension with tight and turbulent cadences and release it through bombastic refrains with catchy riffs and choruses with engaging vocals. Something Hangman’s Alphabet is wont to do. While Unbend the Shape builds up enough tension with sharp bass lines, pointed guitar riffs and blustery beats, the tension is never resolved. There are too many cuts and breaks and starts and stops and not enough melody. The non-descript vocals do nothing to involve the listener but neither are they a distraction.

The lack of studio enhancements ensures that every track retains the natural fervor and original ideas the band intended and allows the precision and dexterity of the players to provide the listeners with a multi-faceted, sonic ride; although at times an angular and abrupt one that is mostly one-dimensional without covering any new ground.

The disjointed guitar outbursts and frenetic segments are played with expertise and are never abrasive. But the songs sound too much like collages of sound fragments pasted together with seemingly no direction or flow and sometimes awkward transitions. Turn to the RIYLs if you want to hear some better, more appealing math-rock/indie-prog.

Recommended If You Like (RIYL): Oh Captain My Captain, 31 Knots and The Joggers

Hangman’s Alphabet: http://www.myspace.com/hangmansalphabet

Losing Blueprint Records: http://www.losingblueprint.com