May 22nd, 2017 | Album reviews

Shapes of Sound

The worlds of contemporary old-style rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly can be pretty niche and exclusive, sometimes tending to value accurate reproduction more than artistic expression. So it’s exciting to see a band pulling from those styles that is also unafraid to move beyond the confines of traditionalism. Cutty Flam is one of those bands, ready to take their sound new places. Continuing to draw heavily on the influence of legends like Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry, and Ritchie Valens—with a bit of punk flourish—Cutty Flam arrive with their second full-length Shapes Of Sound sounding stronger and more confident than ever. Where Cutty Flam’s debut Robot Heart didn’t quite capture the spirit and fireworks of their live sets, Shapes Of Sound gets that energy and more, giving these recordings an immediately captivating vibrancy. Even when the band is delivering the types of heartfelt ballads Buddy Holly would have loved, they never drag or spoil the flow of the record. Instead, the trio have mastered timing and placement; whether they’re going fast or setting up a slow-dance, they’re always in control. It’s not easy to take vintage styles and make them fresh again, but Cutty Flam manages to do it. Given how far they’ve come in just five years, there should be little doubt that this band is just getting started.

—Simon Weedn