Since I started JOVM over four years ago, I’ve had an increasing interest in covering and presenting a variety of artists and genres from all over the world, and as you can imagine I get a ton of emails from record labels, publicists, and artists from some rather far-flung places including acts like electronic production duo, The Shopengauers from the former Soviet Republic of Tatarstan in Central Russia and the South Korean indie rock band, Language of Shapes.
Founding members Tristan Burden and his girlfriend J.E. Souk bonded musically over their mutual love of mandolin and lying around South Korean beaches playing Leonard Cohen covers. And although both Burden and Souk were initially unfamiliar with the mandolin before starting the band, once they had started to learn to play they found the instrument taking over their musical and creative lives (which isn’t terribly surprising). The band was completed when Burden and Suek recruited their close friends Cortland Miles (bass) and Bobby Goldberg (drums) to flesh out the band’s sound.
With the release of the band’s self-titled debut, Language of Shapes received attention internationally – and on this site – for a sound that managed to defy easy categorization as it possessed elements of folk, goth, psych rock indie rock and chamber pop, and in some way their most popular single to date, “Stitches,” uncannily reminiscent of Ocean Rain-era Echo and the Bunnymen.
The South Korean quartet recently released their sophomore effort, Mother Mountain and the album manages to both further cement their reputation for a cinematic and broodingly Romantic sound while also subtly expanding on it. In fact, “Liquid Dream” is probably the most New Wave-like thing they’ve released as the song is comprised of angular mandolin chords layered with bouncy mandolin chords and is paired with an unusual rhythmic arrangement. But there’s also a slightly different lyrical approach – the lyrics are a bit more surreal and oblique, revealing a deeper artistic growth.