Shiner
The Egg


4.5
superb

Review

by donovan909 USER (26 Reviews)
December 23rd, 2011 | 116 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Math-Rock, Alternative Rock, Progressive, Whatever label you want sick on them, this album is a masterpiece of ingenious music and well thought-out cathartic lyrics. An album that breaks all expectations of what to expect from a 90's rock band.

Allen Epley, the sole songwriter for Shiner, and eventually The Life and Times, is a one man army. His lyrics are deeply introspective, shining a light (no pun intended) on the sometimes dark, sometimes quirky, aspects of people and humanity as a whole. They can easily be taken in the vein of a bitter nasty man, showering the world with his own demons, however, they come across much more tongue in cheek, allowing a quiet sense of humor to prevail as to not bog down the listener. Much as the revered Kurt Cobain let out his inner demons and views on society as a whole, Epley follows suit, only in a much more intelligent manner and with a willingness to even pick fun at himself.

Look at the lyrics to songs such as Spook the Herd:

‘The cows have all come home
They're sinking through the foam
The truth has not been told
'Cause it's been sold’

Here he is attributing societies willingness to buy into ‘whatever’ the mass media/government dictates while we take them at their word unquestioned.

However then you have lyrics from the track Play Dead:

‘Operated by a fictional computer,
and navigating down the stream of possibilities,
I could never…maybe.
Isolated for my crimes and misdemeanors,
graduating to the piece of *** that I became.
Accidental? Maybe.’

Here he takes aim at himself, contemplating the path he has taken and the end result of him ‘graduating to the piece of *** [he} became.

His guitar riffs are composed of alternative tunings, peculiar picking patterns, and many times just all out chaos, intertwined with all the other instruments moving in their own other-worldly patterns. As I am not a music critic in the sense that I am not keen on ‘labels’, such as Math Rock, which is one I have seen thrown out there quite often when describing this band, in layman’s terms for the average music fan, I would describe this album as progressive alternative. For those of you that are fans of classic rock, the abstract compositions of bands like Yes, Genesis, and Rush all come to mind with meshing an atonal guitar riff with pop sensibilities.

His voice has a wonderful range and as with any band, the vocals usually make or break the listener’s interest in the band. However, he can belt out with lyrics, with the same tongue in cheek humor he incorporates into his lyrics, vocally. They are the selling point of his vocals. No matter the content, there is never a lack of passion and none so more than the title track ‘The Egg’ with a massive build up, from him almost quietly speaking the verse into an all out high range falsetto on the chorus that can raise the hair on your arms.

Dynamics are key to this band, with a wonderful mix of off-time drumming, a very prominent bass guitar, underlying Epley’s peculiar riffing and vocal patterns. This album is by no means one that you just pop in and latch onto in the first listen. There is so much going on musically that it takes multiple listens to truly appreciate what Shiner accomplished on this album. The ability to combine the aforementioned song structures and strange qualities of the music, but at the same time, make it listenable and memorable is a feat that quite noteworthy that most band in this style fail at.

Rare is a there a dull moment on this album or a song that does not have something to offer the listener. The songs are cohesive in the fact that they all bear the same strange qualities, however, never seem to repeat ideas. Each song contains a life unto itself and even when they tone it down to a minimal it is captivating like the song ‘Top of the World’, the lyrical ideas keep you intrigued with lyrics such as:

‘I blew apart the Volvo
and sacrificed your sister,
and I spread it all over the place.
Watched their faces’

This album never fails to bring attention to what they want to accomplish with each song, leaving you with an album almost void of filler material. Anyone who likes their rock music a little off kilter, who enjoys the bizarre, and wants to hear something they have never heard before, Shiner has a unique quality that separates them from the pack. It is unfortunate that they reached their peak, with each album leading up to culminate into what was to become The Egg. However, there is no better way for a band to end their legacy with an album of this caliber.



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user ratings (122)
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
PuddlesPuddles (4.5)
Criminally underappreciated in the math rock scene, Shiner's just about had it....



Comments:Add a Comment 
accompliceofmydeath
December 23rd 2011


4921 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is awesome.

PuddlesPuddles
December 24th 2011


4798 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice, good to see people listening to this

MRectangle
May 16th 2015


41 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This album rocks harder than Nirvana and smarter than Radiohead, and yet nobody knows these guys. Proof that there is no fairness in life.

UpwardSpiral
October 25th 2015


1121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the Egg best song ever

sizeofanocean
October 29th 2016


3453 Comments


Pos'd this. Nice review. Somewhere around these corners i read that these guys sound like "Oceansize doing Post-Hardcore". Would you guys agree with that? Does the same apply to The Life and Times?


Source
November 9th 2018


19917 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

People are obsessed with not talking about this album

sizeofanocean
June 13th 2019


3453 Comments


Apparently. This does actually sound like Oceansize doing post hardcore. Will do discog deep dive some time this year

Source
June 13th 2019


19917 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lula is the only other one I've heard but it is also good

Observer
Emeritus
November 23rd 2019


9408 Comments


good stuff, dont see why they're so often lofted under posthardcore though.

Source
November 24th 2019


19917 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good bump

Observer
Emeritus
November 28th 2019


9408 Comments


title track is mad good

Source
November 28th 2019


19917 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

agreed

Observer
Emeritus
November 30th 2019


9408 Comments


Lula is my favorite currently, but Im jamming Starless now and im enjoying it a ton

icatchthirtythree
March 11th 2020


1156 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

New single is out! 19 years later and Shiner still kicks so much ass.

SmashIsTheWay94
May 3rd 2020


2257 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

weird that I just checked this out less than a week before their comeback album drops

this rules btw

Observer
Emeritus
July 2nd 2020


9408 Comments


Hows the new one?

SmashIsTheWay94
July 2nd 2020


2257 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the new one is solid but not as good as this or Lula Divinia. a 3.5 for me

Rowhaus
July 11th 2020


6263 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Rules

Lucman
January 18th 2021


5537 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Whoa, why isn't this more popular?

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2021


61276 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Can someone who loves this shoot a quick line about why it's so great?



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