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Reviewed by Felicity Farrell

Shapeshifter: Rituals

Reviewed by Felicity Farrell

Shapeshifter: Rituals

There’s no denying that Shapeshifter have carved their own unmistakable sound since they started in 1999. Every album and single released by the legendary band has a distinct drum & bass rhythm, led by the soaring vocals of PDigsss, that any Kiwi summer festival-goer can recognise a mile away. 

That said, with each new release the band do push their boundaries, adding new elements, mixes and a different production/engineering spin. Their new (seventh) studio album, ‘Rituals’, was in conception well before the global pandemic but had its release interrupted by the lockdown.

Several singles have since hit the radio airwaves and nation’s live stages; including the very Shapeshifter new live fave, The Roxxy, which brilliantly fuses a spectrum of DnB, jungle, rave and metal, the light and spacious album opener Found In You, and the glitchy dancefloor anthem Light Speed, released just in time to be belted out to New Year’s Eve festival-goers, in true Shapeshifter fashion.

Produced by Sam Trevethick and Tiki Taane, ‘Rituals’ was recorded at Massey Studios in Wellington, with engineering handled by Toby Lloyd (who has worked with the likes of Ladi6, Louis Baker and Hollie Smith) and Michael Sutherland. The 11-track album delivers all the things you expect to hear from the legendary five-piece.

Heavy bass lines in Found In You, incredible synth action in Life, and a laid-back chill followed by some heavy grime in Ritual (Under Your Spell) which, after riding through various sonic, and emotional landscapes courtesy of PDigsss’ vocals, eventually leads to a banging dance floor. There is everything expected here for loyal Shapeshifter fans, and plenty to chew on for day one followers.