Brody Ramone and Trey Holliday review Shiny Toy Guns newest release: III
The return of Grammy nominated Shiny Toy Guns’ with the late October release ” III” enjoys the eloquent resurfacing of vocalist Carah Faye Charnow, and after the somewhat lackluster reception by early fans of “Season of Poison”, this new groove is cohesive, alluring and perhaps haunting.
Album opener “Somewhere to hide”, with it’s relentless drum tempo and staccato blip rhythm synth that recalls hungry wolf pioneer Nick Rhodes, is arguably STG at their best. Sunny words of escape, “We’ll stay out of sight until we know everything is alright”. Indeed. I ponder the possibility of M83′s “Midnight City” being blended, the match would work quite well, but this is another town.
“Waiting alone” pleads in an extravagant trade off of Carah and Gregori vocals, a standout track inundated by more solid driving tempo and warm keys. Consider it the ancient stylistic cocktail bar Human League hit of the present, as sadness prevails despite the wonderful solid mix. “You used to make me feel so much alive, now I’m waiting alone for you” Soaring tones in the back and forth . Love lost, but not forgotten.
This theme is graciously repeated in kind on the third track “Carrie”, another exchange of longing, missing and an overall vibe that, at times, seems to channel vintage New Order. Early eighties percussion slaps, intentional bass and symphonic keys perpetuate grandeur. If only we knew where Carrie really went?
A solid three song start to an album of the same name.
Mid to uptempo songs such as “If I lost you” ,”Mercy” and “The Sun” carry the same heartbreak to perfection. Carah and Gregori pull off a sparkle cloak of complete yearning and believably true emotion, riding the waves but never sinking beneath the flowing silver flood of sound. The sometimes robotic future other-world wrapper fails to mask but rather compliments the sincere delivery in a very effective way.
The harmonies on “Mercy” in particular makes one wonder why Brandon Flowers doesn’t invite female vocalists more often on his Vegas murdering trip.
Despite the initial apparent Frankie Goes to Hollywood party start, “Fading Listening ” brings another heartfelt connection. A high temp blend of remorse, reflection and faded comfort. A certain smoldering cry of a gem. Influence by Buckingham and Nicks is almost evident, as sliding background sonics bring to mind early Rumours’ “Dreams”. STG has a vinyl collection, perhaps?
“Speaking Japanese”, an older track from oblivion, shreds apart any fuzzy feelings to shove an overblown dance trance circumstance. ” I’ll do exactly what I please, and you won’t ever catch me”. A full force attack of fire beats and distorted trash glitter, dance floors should be destroyed under feet. Well done.
The expensive trip gives way to stripped musical honesty, curtains pulled over the mechanical pop assault in the album closer “Take Me Back to Where I was”, a straightforward piano ballad. “I don’t need need your secret place…” in full Lennon “Imagine” style, but ending with dark wasteland bass. A final tonal ode to the ghost of longing for love lost that haunts most every track.
While they don’t reinvent the genre on this collection, it easily hits the intended target. “III” is certainly a solid effort of consistency from these flickering facsimile firearms. In the end, one ponders why the colder edges of life can’t be so warmly programmed as well.
Standout tracks ” Somewhere to Hide” ” Waiting Alone” “Fading Listening”
Check out “Somewhere to Hide” by clicking here —> http://soundcloud.com/shinytoyguns/somewhere-to-hide
Brody Ramone and contributing writer extraordinaire Trey Holliday