Sound — 8
When I first heard Shiny Toy Guns, I was sh-t-house hammered in Milwaukee, WI my first year of college. I came to see Kid Cudi for welcome week and Shiny was opening up for him, but ending up stealing the show. Kid Cudi is one of my all time favorites, so that's giving them a lot of credit. After that, I had to find out more about them, so I bought "We Are Pilots" and fell in love. "Season Of Poison", their second album, the one without Carah Faye singing, didn't seem like traditional Shiny to me, though. It lacked the swag that Carah brought forth, but now, thankfully, she and her swag are back and have graced the presence of their third studio album, creatively titled "III". What I can say, is that the band returns to their signature sound, blending dark and sleek synth with heavy rock chorus and poppy harmonies. Also, the album is as diverse as ever, notably in the dark and dancy "Speaking Japanese", which echoes "Le Disko" from their past. "Fading Listening" is a pure pop meditation, chill and blurry, and reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac. Also present is the epic "Waiting Alone", my personal favorite, and one of their chosen singles from the album. All in all, the genres don't clash as much as they blend, and the sounds don't fight as much as they mesh. Nobody does it like Shiny; nobody can, and they definitely outdid themselves this time on pure diversity and creativity.
Lyrics — 9
Thinly veiled metaphors with acrimonious tendencies are splashed throughout the album between blatant and bold claims of hope and renewal. It's not as much deep as it is honest. The band has obviously went through its tumultuous period (i.e. the break up before "Season Of Poison"), and they write now from the perspective of the last part of the tunnel, just before reaching the other side; the darkness falling behind, the light, bright and glaring, full of hope for the future, imminently awaiting. Overall the album felt very personal, very cleansing, and very confident. "We're never going to die," assures Chad on "Mercy".
Overall Impression — 9
I love the chemistry that this album crystallizes. Recording in the perfect moment, this album represents the very early aftermath of a breakdown in relationships, and at the same time, represents the rebuilding of connection, the reconnection with hope, and the hope for a better outcome than the first time around. Shiny Toy Guns seemed to just be flirting with mainstream success in 2007, when they were nominated for a Grammy. Their formula for music creation is loveable and unique, and this album should garner the attention that has been owed to the band since the first time they took their catchy disco-indie-pop-rock-whatever-you-want-to-call-it music on the road for their first tour. If nothing else, look up the video for "Fading Listening", where they cast kids as the "Tiny Toy Guns". This band is bristling with innovation, Capitoline on the advent of EDM and mixing it in with brutally honest modern indie rock. It took me a few listens, and a little research to discover the depth of their songs, but this album has grown to be my favorite of theirs, and my arguably, my favorite album of 2012.