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Maureen Anderson's Shapeshifter

Maureen Anderson's ShapeshifterHailing not far from the Hairless Heart’s ‘sister’ reviewing home in Leicestershire, we have a band going by the name of Shapeshifter. Now, Shapeshifter is a quite visual band live (courtesy of a video tape we received last week), and as the self-titled CD we have to review is from 2000, the more recent video enables us to draw comparisons. The CD runs for an enjoyable hour, featuring many styles and influences such as Gong, early Hawkwind, Ozrics, Hillage and early Porcupine Tree, and contains many voices and sound-overs too. Generally, there is a strong space rock feel to the music, with Maureen's chanting voice on many of the cuts. The lyrics are very moving, and carry you through the album in nice waves, and her flute guides you along very nicely indeed.

With a few line-up changes from the CD in question, the 'band' have not really changed shape judging from the video and live bootleg we have, but on stage the band look impressive and Maureen looks the perfect front-person in her many costumes and outfits. Back to the album, well it has had a good blast many times, and I really like the moods and the feeling what has gone into this work, all of the cuts are strong in their own right, but the title cut 'Shapeshifter' which closes the album has a nice gentle start to it, then it rises off into a new direction of attack, with a cracking synth sound and flute. The reggae sound dominates 'The City', with the bass hitting you smack in the face, but for a summer morning song, you will have to hear the joyful 'In The Garden' which contains very easy, but to the point lyrics, which tells us about the fairies and goblins and their habits. Just imagine opening your bedroom window to the sound of fairies with down below wind trouble!!!

The album has hit me in a different way to what I normally listen too, but it has hit me in all the right places. With the right exposure, Maureen and her Shapeshifter crew will hit new heights as a great festival band, I can see them at an open air festival in the future, and the future will be this year with a bit of luck. They deserve a fair crack to a large audience to make this happen, so if you have enjoyed reading this, check out the web site at the bottom of the page.

Danny Mayo


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