Review Summary: A return to form of sorts
In 2008, Shiny Toy Guns released their sophomore effort, Season of Poison. This album was the first without their previous vocalist, Carah Faye Charnow, and was a departure for the band. With their new vocalist brought a shift in style, shying away from the glitz and synth that populated We Are Pilots in favor of a more rock oriented style. This stylistic change was one that was not well received by fans nor critics, and saw the band fall out of the spotlight they had acquired. But now, in 2012, with the return of Carah Faye, and a new album, are the Shinies back to form?
The short answer is yes. Well, kinda. This album is an amalgamation of elements from their previous efforts, We Are Pilots
and Season of Poison
. The electronic focus is back, as is the back and forth with Faye (who sounds better than ever) and Petree. These elements are most notable in songs like "Somewhere to Hide", "Carrie", "The Sun", and "Waiting Alone", which sound as if they were b-sides from We Are Pilots
. Even tracks like "Speaking Japanese" and "Fading Listening", the former being almost club like and the latter being noticeable of Fleetwood Mac influence, feel like an evolution of this sound and are refreshing to hear.
Where the album starts to suffer is in its filler tracks, something familiar to those who've listened to their previous outing. Songs like "If I Lost You", "Mercy", " E V A Y", "Wait for Me", and "Take Me to Where I Was" are the slower tracks of the album, and they're the most bland ones. All of them feature excessively long intros, one vocalist, and very piano heavy, almost abandoning the rest of the band. They also help emphasize just how bland Petree's vocals can be. His performances on these tracks, much like his on Season of Poison
, are too lacking in power and variety to separate them from one another. It really shows how poor he is as a lead singer, and he really drags the album down during these songs.
Lyrically, the album is hit or miss. For every interesting line like "I know your dreams are full of dragons | Speaking words in foreign language"
, we're met with ones like "I'd lie if you say so | Come and you go go | And you go go"
Overall, one could view this album as a return to form for the band. Tracks like "Speaking Japanese" and "Somewhere to Hide" are fun, and will excite the older fans taste for the tracks that had gotten them into the band. Though, with about half an album of forgettable filler, you may just be better off listening to We Are Pilots
to get your Shiny Toy Guns fix.