Gentle Tour

by United Shapes

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Gentle Tour is United Shapes' fourth album, and needs to be enjoyed while driving around in the car from one end of Long Island to the other. As you may have suspected from the sunny blue sky and fluffy clouds, this record is a real happy slice of lemon pound cake compared to our usual sick, miserable garbage. It's all story songs, too, so if you're into story songs, then have I got the United Shapes album for you, pal.

Featuring songs about a college newspaper, a famous literary recluse, a funny line from the movie Clue that I decided to turn into a whole four-and-a-half-minute song, a city in Long Island where Rufus Wainwright is believed to sometimes be the mayor, this guy who does paintings for the New Yorker magazine, this girl who does paintings of glaciers for nobody, hot sex with WASPy twins in the Hamptons, dogs, birds, that time they locked John Lennon in a small room and made him listen to "Good Morning Good Morning" for 7 days straight without food or water, and other references to places in New York, including the main one, New York.


released December 17, 2012

Drew Cave - guitar, trombone, drums, vocals
Joseph Devens - keyboard, guitar, drums, synths, vocals
Written by Devens-Cave
Produced by United Shapes


all rights reserved



United Shapes Austin, Texas

United Shapes are an alt rock duo formed in 2004 by Joseph Devens and Drew Cave. Help yourself to our handmade demos. They sound like garbage. Maybe you help us make them sound good and we all get paid?

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Track Name: Start The Presses
down the steps to the basement
slice of pizza for my mouth
say hello to the boys in news

ME wants my thirds on her desk by 10
I'll do my best
but I'll probably be here 'til 2

walk past the morgue up to my desk
which is also the break room
I've been charged with a task
I'm in charge of a page
gotta make that Sudoku

check my inbox
weed through the crap
grab another slice of pizza
in time to layout my page

I'm responsible for this thing
50,000 college kids waiting for
their comics today

I'm a newsman's son
paper's in my blood
sucking life from fluorescent bulbs
work 10 hours a day
for 20 dollars in pay
but no one minds that we work for crumbs

start the presses

Inks and Keck making out on the sofa
Scotty in the loading dock talking and smoking

I remember the days when people
held it in their hands
turn the page tuck it under the arm

take it with on a bus ride
it's not electric or compact
but it's never without its charm

line a parrot cage
make a pirate hat
throw it out when you've read it
it's a thankless job
in a trench coat and hat
from the notes the the edit

spilled my coffee but it's OK
got another cup of Joe
and a Red Bull in waiting for this

time to script-set and check the negatives
my page is done
print is dead when we say it is

walk up the stairs
to the empty box
tomorrow we'll have people talking
soon the trucks will go out
and fill the box with fresh ink
like a square Christmas stocking

start the presses

Richard and Tim making sure we do our work
Flannery thumbing through her AP style book
Track Name: He Never Reappeared
My little teeth wanted out so bad that they all jumped right out of my head and

My little hands flapped so hard that they flew away now I can't play the keyboard

My little heart beat itself to death all that's left is the hole where it used to be

All of my skin melted off my bones now I look like a Halloween costume

He was a solid guy

but now he drifts like a vapor in and out of the empty sky

we all thought he was here he was a man for a minute but then he disappeared

all of my hair got the feeling they'd be better off somewhere other than on my head

each of my bones sublimated and all of the meat fell right off of my body

both of my lungs filled with helium now they're some of the parts that I don't have

my little feet tapped so much that when they were done they were nothing but piles of dust

he was a solid guy

but now floats like a ghost and the rest of us can't say why

we all thought he was here he was a man for a minute but then he disappeared

and he never reappeared

he was gone.

he was a solid guy

but now he's gone and the cartons have his picture right on the side

we all thought he was here he was a man for a minute but then he disappeared

he was a solid guy

we were away for a while but now we're back and he's out of sight

we all thought he was here he was a man for a minute but then he disappeared

It's possible that the devil snatched his from his bed and took him out for some Chinese food

or maybe there was a cat and it sat on his chest and sucked the life out

he was a solid guy

but now he drifts like a vapor in and out of the empty sky

we all thought he was here he was a man for a minute but then he disappeared

and he never reappeared

he was gone.
Track Name: Salinger's Party
The mood on the terrace of Salinger’s secret address
is that of a cat alone on top a fence
or that of a nocturne played for no audience
One month ago I received an invitation in the mail, I RVSPed
A town car came for me
Was it necessary to earmuff and blindfold me?

So back to where I am
Alone with my thoughts and a cigarette in my hand
An hour’s passed
The other party guests should be arriving soon I would guess
(Except that they haven’t yet. Surely dozens of other invites were sent.
I was under the impression that this would be THE event of 1951)

My mouth feels like I ate a bucket of hot garbage
What’s a guy gotta do to get a drink in JD’s mansion of shadows?
The stupid chairs in the rooms are my only company
This place should be cramped with the cream of society.
Another half hour’s gone. Nobody here but me with my tuxedo on.

We’re all here at Salinger’s party
And by we I mean me, because if “we”, then where are they?
I know he loves his privacy but this seems like a joke to me

This lousy ghost town house
Limo loads of missing guests and one absentee host
I think it’s obvious that Salinger either lied or his guests missed the bus
Goddam you JD, I bought your sophomoric book
just so I could make lame smalltalk
That’s it, I’m outta here
And I’m stealing his silverware as a dumb souvenir

Beyond the house’s gates
I look for the town car that brought me here and I wait
for someone, anyone, to see that I’m ready to leave
and to drive me home
Now where could the driver be?
Probably hiding and laughing and watching me
I have no clue where I am
Now I have to walk back to where I live if I can
Track Name: Virginia Painting The Glaciers
she's the kind of girl that you might notice
notice in her polka dotted dress
squeezing out her paints onto her palette
with a certain kind of cold finesse

I’m the kind of guy that you might notice
noticing the girl across the room
staring blankly at my empty canvas
should’ve sewn it up and made a shoe

Her head is as focused and as cool
as her slowly moving ice cubes

I was stumped the day I met Virginia
haven’t had a good idea since
surely she will leave a mark on this world
I will only leave my finger prints

I’m painting Virginia painting the glaciers
I am a doggy barking at angles

Someone said that all good artists borrow
and that all the best ones like to steal
am I doing that or am I finding
a way to parallel art with what’s real?

She has tiny models all around her
the smallest shelves of ice I’d ever seen
Now I’m doing me doing Virginia
Doing art from figures from real things

Her head is as focused and as cool
as her slowly moving ice cubes

And now I am obsessed with her obsession
or is it that I’m more obsessed with her
obsessing over things you’d lastly think of
to immortalize for all of the art world

I’ll never know
what I saw inside the girl inside the snow
This lousy poem
is all she’ll know of me when I finally go
out of my head into the flood
out of my head into the flood
Track Name: Imaginary Julia
She was a Pisces I think
I brought her something to drink
We walked around and looked at paintings
of birds and pastries and flora

I opened the door for her
then walked her up to her floor
We didn't kiss goodnight
but she gave me a hug and that was alright

Saw her in art class the next day
covered in papier mache
We got along so well I could've sworn
I heard wedding bells

But then like that she was gone
graduated and had moved on
to God knows where and why
and I was left without even goodbye

Now I have an imaginary Julia
still watching birds and pies in red sterculia
She is my Harvey and it's not peculiar
to see us together
you'll see me
but not her

So I was of a mind
to look her name up online
which led me to a page of pictures of her
I looked at a long time

Turns out she's high society
and hangs out with a variety
Of important people who wear expensive clothes
but still like to party

She married some guy from DC
sunglasses, yachting, white teeth
Joe Jackson's song came to mind
when I saw the girl I thought would be mine

I'm not usually jealous
but when I saw Julia's fellah
I wished that we were back at Sear's
getting our portrait together

imaginary Julia goes where I go
Black dress, high heels, hair done up just like Jackie O'
You'll think I'm by myself but I won't be alone
Am I a
bit crazy
don't think so
but maybe

At the farmer's market
Got into an argument
with an apple salesman who said that my girlfriend
was only in my head

On our way home with our produce
she held my hand and got real close
and said she was moving away to marry
someone imaginary

So I got a new imaginary Julia
still watches birds and pies in red sterculia
She's still my Harvey and it's not peculiar
to see us together
you'll see me
but not her
Track Name: Diane
you know your sister?
of course you do
I want to kiss her
the way that I kiss you

we met the day
that you took me to meet your dad
she was on a horse that looks the same
as the one you have

over dinner our eyes met
now when I see you I forget
if you're not her and who I am
I only want to see Diane

has a different hair cut than you
is exactly like you in every way
except for that
is the spitting image of you
that's why I'm leaving you forever for

I need to talk to you
I hate to say
that our relationship
was good, but now it's played

our time is over
our love is dead
I'm dreaming of your face
but it's on your sister's head

and if you want to before I leave you
we three could go at it
I think it's a real good plan
I want to do it with two of Diane

has the same birthday as you
has all your charm and all your looks
and everything
is everything I like about you
that's why I'm leaving you forever for
Track Name: Please
The bastard sun came up
Commotion in the streets
Dogs not wanting to shut the hell up

The bastard’s fire came
Hot metal in the streets
Gunslingers fighting the Advil

Boner machines
All dogs go to Hell
In cans
Western culture from the toothpaste vans

What do I have to do?
What do I have to say?
What do I have to do
To get those stupid birds to shut up?

What do I have to do?
What do I have to say?
What do I have to do
To get those dogs to shut their stupid mouths?
Track Name: Bruce McCall
I've never met the man personally
but my professor in art school said she met him once at a thing
How can somebody be seen universally
but fly under the radar when I drop his name on my friends

I can imagine him there in his studio
surrounded by zeppelins cars and unsinkable boats
Washing a brush he will turn and look down at the street
see the bright yellow taxis, the red of a street vendor's rose

That I've seen a lot doesn't mean anything
there are so many that I've never seen

where does he put them all
where does he put them all
Bruce McCall

where does he put them all
where does he put them all
Bruce McCall

I went to his residence on the upper west side
to witness the urban absurdist at work in his home
He wasn't there but I knew that he wouldn't mind
if I broke in and smelled all his furniture and ate from his stove

Doing this lifted my spirits in ways that I cannot describe
And at once the ideas began to flood into my mind
Soon I'd amassed a collection of canvases
Each a perfect realistic depiction of a witty punchline

But there's still this one thing I need to know
after he signs the thing where does it go?

where does he put them all
where does he put them all
Bruce McCall

where does he put them all
where does he put them all
Bruce McCall

people say illustration is a lesser form of art
I think that people have the horse behind the cart

how can a giant pink heel be a luxury
condominium? that's not a question he asks of himself
how can a fluttering leaf be a parking ticket?
the same way that a castaway separates paper from glass

where does he put them all
where does he put them all
Bruce McCall

where does he put them all
where does he put them all
Bruce McCall

People say illustration is a lesser form of art
I say people are stupid

where does he put them all
where does he put them all
Bruce McCall

where does he put them all
where does he put them all
Bruce McCall
Track Name: Montauk
we drove down to the end of the world and we walked for a while in the purple sand
we were told that it would be cold, that our gloves would be worthless to warm our hands

we were inspired to make the long drive after seeing a painting of who lived there
big and small, they were feathered and all of them diving for fish in the frozen air

how did they do it? how did they leave everything behind and inch through the night?
could I say to myself that I'd do the same thing? hitch a ride through the fog and the ice

we looked high and low for a soul, there was no one around to be seen for miles
but there in the drift lay a silhouette stiff as a board. it had been there for quite some time.

one dead seal is your host in Montauk. Montauk is a ghost.
one cold coast is at most an odd landmark. Montauk is a ghost.

past the living postcards past the people inside them at work and warm
past the big duck and the woman inside reading tabloid trash wating to go home

A lighthouse sits at the end of the world looking down at the restaurant and wondering why
no one's around except for me and my friend in this place where ice cream falls from the sky

we will live here we will fashion a house out of timber and stone
we will put up a sign that reads "we are happy now leave us alone"

we were far away from the car as the sun started drowning itself in the brine
and there in the drift was that figure still stiff as a board. it was watching us the whole time
Track Name: I Love New York
I've never lived here but I've always been here
like the guy in the black and white picture
at the end of the movie it turned out he'd been there
his whole life but he'd never lived there

except for the once and it didn't work out right
He died outside, had a fight with his wife
and he ran all around in the maze of the mind
of the ghost of the love that was trapped in his heart

And speaking of love there's a heart on my sleeve
not the sleeve but the front of this white t-shirt
not a shirt but a mug not a mug but a glove
not a glove but a No. 2 pencil

When it's sharp and I hold it straight up on the desk
it's a relative I know from pictures
But a picture's enough to rekindle the love
Like a sister you see just at Christmas

And the people who aren't from here wish that they were
And the people who are know they're smarter
than the people who dream of New York cuz they know
that the grass isn't greener it's harder

And it grows to incredible heights and it turns
into metal and glass and burnt coffee
And the light from the sun is that guy from the maze
with the axe trying to hack through the city

They thought that they knew us
Well how could they know us?
They read in the shape of a cloud we'd been bad
So they blew into town and they took souvenirs
from a place that I had never seen though I had

But instead of a snow globe they took the whole thing
leaving only the snow and a hole in the globe
By the time that I got there I got there too late
to do anything
even say that I'd been there.

I love New York
I love New York
I love New York
It's written on my shirt.