Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shiny Toy Guns: "Somewhere to Hide," "Wait For Me," and "You Are the One"

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Here's what I wrote about L.A. alt-rock band Shiny Toy Gun on April 11, 2010:

I'm generally mixed on Shiny Toy Guns, the L.A.-based alternative-rock-punk-techno band that, so far, has released two studio albums with two different lead singers, the Grammy-nominated We Are Pilots (2006, with Carah Faye Charnow) and the rather disappointing Season of Poison (2008, with Sisely Treasure).

There's a lot to like on both albums, especially the first (notably "You Are the One," "Don't Cry Out," "Starts With One," and "Chemistry of a Car Crash"), but STG are wildly inconsistent and generally all over the place, as if they lack a firm sense of who they are and what kind of music they want to make. So there's an awful lot of mediocrity there, and worse -- like the very popular "Le Disko" off the 2009 remix album Girls Le Disko (though their version of "Major Tom" is actually quite good).

On the other hand, there's nothing much wrong with diversity, and the second album contains some excellent moments, too, especially the great opening to the first track, "When Did This Storm Begin?" "Turned to Real Life" is also good, but it is "Frozen Oceans," the album's concluding track, that is by far the best the band has ever done.

Well, however "mixed" I may have been, there wasn't much (in music) I was looking forward to, and waiting for, with as much anticipation as their third album, which finally came out on October 22. I'm not sure why there was such a long wait, but obviously the band was going through some significant changes and dealing with some significant issues. The first single, "The Sun," was released in March, and there were reports of a summer album release. I kept checking, and checking, but nothing... until, finally...

III doesn't have anything on it quite as glorious (and grandiose) as "Frozen Oceans," but it rivals We Are Pilots and may actually be stronger overall. And while I didn't mind Sisely at all, it helps to have Carah back. She's incredible -- such a compelling vocalist (and such a compelling presence fronting the band alongside Chad Petree). Were I to make a list of the sexiest women in music, she'd be right up there, but obviously she's enormously talented as well.

My favourite song on III is probably "Somewhere to Hide," the opening track. Here it is live, from a Chicago show on June 30. It's not great quality, but it's the best I could find, and it certainly shows Carah at her finest. Enjoy!

Okay, just because I can't get enough of them, here are two more:

-- Carah and Chad performing an early version of "Wait For Me" (one of the best songs on III) at the North Halsted Market Days in Chicago on August 13, 2011; and

-- STG performing "You Are the One" (one of the best songs on We Are Pilots) in Houston last year.


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