Review Summary: What happened?
Though We Are Pilots
was hardly a brilliant effort on the part of Shiny Toy Guns, it was a decidedly entertaining venture into modern synthpop. The likes of "Don't Cry Out" and the Killers-eqsue "Rainy Monday" and "You Are the One" were each mesmerizing cuts, and are still worth revisiting every now and then. All three versions of We Are Pilots
(!) did feature a few filler tracks, and true to the group's synthpop roots, the album did get cheesy at times. But for the most part, the soothing qualities of the group's electronic edge and Carah Faye's voice kept things interesting and fresh.
August 2008 saw the departure of Faye from Shiny Toy Guns. Replacing her was Sisely Treasure, notable for her participation in The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search For the Next Doll, of all things. Realistically, Faye's departure shouldn't have affected Seasons of Poison
too much. The album was already written by August, and Faye wasn't one of the band's primary songwriters anyway. Yet, throughout the album, the distinct lack of Carah Faye is especially evident. Sisely Treasure's vocal work is essentially a lukewarm emulation of Faye, though at times she attempts to break free, and employ her own style. Interestingly, though, she's at her best while utilizing the former. First single "Ricochet!", which hankers back to We Are Pilots
' dancey "Le Disko", features Treasure at her most sensuous, while the likes of "Turned to Real Life" and "Seasons of Love" showcase her gentler side. Does she do as well in her role as Faye did" Probably not, but she gets the job done in any case.
The problems begin when Treasure tries to sing in her own way. "Ghost Town" and "When Did This Storm Begin" (barring the chorus) are two of the bigger offenders in this case; In "Ghost Town", Treasure's bubbly, high pitched shouts are extremely cringe worthy and ruin what could have otherwise been a decent song. Likewise, in "When Did This Storm Begin" she tries to sound edgy and bitter with her shrill shouts of "Every night you drink the money left to pay all the bills / No room for us, but there's another ***ing bottle of pills
", but only ends up detracting from the song's flow.
To make matters worse, Seasons of Poison
is plagued by filler material in one of those 'so inoffensive it's offensive' type cases. "Money For That" is a sterile melodic rock song dominated solely by Chad Petree's wistful, yet cringe worthy reminiscings, and "I Owe You a Love Song" is just too lacking in power and energy to be effective. Along with "Ghost Town" and the half-interesting, half-sleep inducing "It Became a Lie On You", Shiny Toy Guns simply fail to leave a good impression early on. In a way, it may be the album's biggest drawback; the filler is so concentrated around the beginning of the album that it's just too difficult to get through. The album does feature some genuinely good material, but the likes of "Turned To Real Life" (a remake of an old track), the New Order influenced "Poison", and "Blown Away" just aren't good enough to warrant multiple listens.
Most frustratingly of all, most of Seasons of Poison
's songs feature moments that make you want to like the album, but such moments are just too few and far in between. The band sounds like they're simply trying too hard to keep up with their more contemporaries, and it shows; the song writing is poorly executed, the syrupy hooks are, for the most part, dull and unimaginative, and the band fails to cover any ground it already hasn't before. Add in the rather ordinary performance by Sisely Treasure, the record just feels streamlined and meagre. Given how endearing We Are Pilots
was, it's disappointing to see the band losing steam so quickly. But hey, I hear Carah Faye is working on a solo project back in Sweden. Maybe she can fill the void.