In the young 21st century, the four players in Static Shapes hit the Philly scene hard in their various tours of musical duty; frontperson Steve Yutzy-Burkey and bassist Rick Sieber in The Swimmers, drummer Mike Kennedy in Audible and Matt Pond PA, keyboardist Alex Yaker in Roomtone and B.C. Camplight. After burning bright, then taking personal hiatuses of varying degrees — to start families, or pursue full-time careers — these four scene friends convened in the late 20-teens to write new music together, circling around Yutzy-Burkey’s pensive observations of life in a changing city in a changing country in a changing world.

Static Shapes tested the waters with a debut concert at Fishtown’s Maas Building in June of 2019, with a propulsive set of songs that I described at the time as “synth-dipped rock that teeters between pop and prog.” To date, it’s the only in-person concert they’ve played.

As it happened, the extra time off during lockdown had an unexpected upside for Static Shapes; when their album Give Me The Bad News released in December of 2020, the band played a livestream virtual show to celebrate — one of the best-executed livestreams of the pandemic, honestly — and got right back to work writing new material. The Blursday EP, released last week, tackles some of those universal feelings we all wrestled with over the past year and a half, like the drudgery of time and fear of the unknown (explored on the title track) as well as a reckoning with the region’s history of gentrification in recent times and colonization going much further back (“Eyes on the Floor”).

Those two songs are performed live in WXPN Studios for this week’s Key Studio Session with some highlights from Give Me The Bad News; the layered complexity of “What It’s Worth” is a modern take on 70s Genesis, while the single “Wolves In White” rides a supple groove that lands in between New Order and Tame Impala.

Watch videos of all four songs below, via NPR Music Live Sessions, pick up Static Shapes’ digital and physical discography at Bandcamp, and see the band’s second-ever in-person gig on Friday, March 25th at Johnny Brenda’s. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.