Sound — 9
Shiny Toy Guns music is reminiscent of the synth-pop textures of Howard Jones, The Pet Shop Boys, and Gary Numan only more modern rock sounding like Q And Not U, Goldfrapp, and Le Tigre. Though the band's synth-pop catacombs are familiar to UK artists, Shiny Toy Guns are based in Los Angeles, California and initially formed by band's songwriters and musicians Chad Petree (vocals, guitar) and Jeremy Dawson (synthesizer, bass guitar). The band's alternating vocalist Carah Faye told Fearless Music TV (www.fearlessmusic.tv) that she was singing for different music writers in LA when she was picked by Petree and Dawson to be in the band. Rounding out the foursome is drummer Mikey Martin. The band's debut album We Are Pilots with Universal Motown Records has rousing synth passages and lacy guitar flutters that are dreamy and ambient. The music is escapist with club beats and elevated vibrations sometimes bright and uptempo like on Rainy Monday or mellow and evocative like Shaken. The funky bobbling of Le Disko is catchy and the melodic complexes have a kindred connection to '80s new wave music. All of the songs sound like they come from the same template offering few variations to distinguish them apart, but it also makes the album feel like a whole piece, like the record is complete on it's own. Their debut album is so well produced by the band that it is hard to imagine what else Shiny Toy Guns has up their sleeves, but they have certainly piqued audiences' curiosity about where they will go from here.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are enigmatic and have a stream of consciousness prattle. The words have an innate meaning which doesn't make their intentions obvious. The lyrical phrases are like a puzzle where the pieces need to be put together to get the whole picture. Like in the song You Are The One which Petree and Faye alternate on lead vocals: You so believe your own lies/ On my skin your fingers/ Runaway until the last time/ We're gonna lose forever/ When you try, don't try to say you won't/ Try to crawl into my head/ When you cry 'cause it's all built up inside/ Your tears already said, already said/ You'll never be alone again. Dawson recently interviewed with Music Dish (www.musicdish.com) and discussed the band's lyrical content, bringing up Half of us (in the band) are just out of high school. We've gone through the same thing, the love, the pain, the drugs, the alcohol, the broken homes, all of the things that our viewers and listeners go through now and they latch onto the music to feed on that. The lyrics touch on heavy social issues and create an escape for listeners from the grief.
Overall Impression — 9
If you are a fan of '80s new wave or contemporary synth-pop/rock then the Shiny Toy Guns album We Are Pilots is really easy to like. And if you don't like this music style, you can't deny that Shiny Toy Guns songs feel good listening to and create an ambience that you can escape into. The record is escapist music which by it's nature has limitations, so what more Shiny Toy Guns does with it will have a rippling effect on others. Even if this is all for Shiny Toy Guns and they go the way of The Thompson Twins, at least they had one really awesome album that won't ever be forgotten.