Tristram Burden and his girlfriend J.E. Seuk founded the South Korean band Language of Shapes back in 2010 over their mutual love of the mandolin and lying around Korean beaches playing Leonard Cohen covers. And although they were both initially unfamiliar with the mandolin before starting the band, once they had picked it up, they found the instrument taking over their musical and creative lives. The band was completed with Burden and Seuk’s close friends Courtland Miles (bass) and Bobby Goldberg (drums) joined.
Publicly, the members of the band have mentioned that they’ve been influenced and inspired by Joseph Campbell, David Bowie, the Cure, Joy Division, Led Zeppelin, Scott Walker, Paschal Beverly Randolph, the Fall, Robert Anton Wilson, Bauhaus, MGMT, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, the Velvet Underground, Altered State, the work of William S. Burroughs and others. However, as you’ll hear on “Stitches,” the first single off the band’s forthcoming sophomore effort, they have a sound that manages to defy easy categorization as it possesses elements of folk, goth, psych rock indie rock, chamber pop and others – and it’s done in a way that’s uncannily reminiscent of Echo and the Bunnymen’s gorgeously haunting and Romantic albums Ocean Rain but with a mysterious air.
The song is propelled by mandolin and deep bass but it’s Burden’s sweepingly dramatic baritone that creates the song’s brooding, apocalyptic Romanticism. In some way, the song seems to be the soundtrack to the impending end of civilization as we know it. Hell, if we’re going to go down with the burning ship, we might as well have something beautiful.