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The Shape of Things

Pere Ubu

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Album Review

Though the sound quality is less than desirable, The Shape of Things is an important release in that it adds more than an hour to the scant recorded legacy of cult figure Peter Laughner. Captured on cassette by an audience member, The Shape of Things documents an April 7, 1976, Cleveland performance at the Mistake soon after Pere Ubu's inception, and just months after the dissolution of vocalist David Thomas and Laughner's pre-Ubu band, Rocket From the Tombs (between their first two singles, "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" and "Final Solution"). On this particular evening, the young band is full of wide-eyed exuberance and volatile energy. The feeling that almost anything could happen is tangible. Future Ubu classics are included on the set list, as well as covers of the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog," the Seeds' "Pushin Too Hard," and Lou Reed's "Heroin." Soon after this show, Laughner quit Pere Ubu, and a few months later he was dead. It might be hard to get a hold of a copy of The Shape of Things, as it was available only at live shows and through Hearpen directly, though only Pere Ubu completists — or cult-icon enthusiasts — will be interested anyway.


Formed: August, 1975 in Cleveland, OH

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Pere Ubu emerged from the urban wastelands of mid-'70s Cleveland to impact the American underground for generations to follow; led by hulking frontman David Thomas, whose absurdist warble and rapturously demented lyrics remained the band's creative focus throughout their long, convoluted career, Ubu's protean art punk sound harnessed self-destructing melodies, scattershot rhythms, and industrial-strength dissonance to capture the angst and chaos of their times with both apocalyptic fervor and surprising...
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