When you step back and take a look at Nick Sakes’ career, there’s a considerable amount of push and pull. Likely most famous (‘famous’) for his work with the brilliantly obtuse Dazzling Killmen, he subsequently served time with the similarly troublesome likes of Colossamite and Xaddax.

Away from the noise, clangour and eyesocket-jabbing scrape of those bands, however, he also played with the sorely overlooked Sicbay: a punchy, anthemic rock ‘n’ roll act that might not have entirely ditched Sakes’ spikier instincts, but certainly managed to cajole them into semi-presentable and far more listenable shape. 

Upright Forms is definitely more of the latter than the former, but the scrabble ‘n’ snark still manages to skulk in through the back door. 

This, in case you were wondering, is a good thing. 

At heart, ‘Blurred Wires’ is a big, ballsy, driving rock beast: a record that somehow finds common ground between acts like Cheap Trick, Moving Targets, Dynamic Truths and The Wipers, charting a course between bold intent, genuinely heroic songwriting and moments of aching gloom.

It’s not all big, hearty melodicism, though. Soaring, throaty vocal parts descend into snarls, and the big, ringing chords find themselves skewered and sliced by brittle, splintering discords or rudely prodded by knobbly, inventive basslines. In here you can detect traces of Shellac, or Honor Role, or Mission Of Burma: bands to whom nebulous terms like indie rock, post-punk or post-hardcore have been applied simply as a means of explaining them without really explaining them. That, I guess, works for Upright Forms too: a band who, even at their prettiest or their catchiest (‘Drive At Night’, ‘Long Shadow’, ‘Animositine’) manage to buck expectations and defy ready-made conventions.