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Album Review

Coming off a four-year hiatus, Shiny Toy Guns returned for III. After second vocalist Sisely Treasure left the band to pursue solo endeavors, We Are Pilots singer Carah Faye Charnow joined the fold alongside keyboardist Jeremy Dawson, drummer Mikey Martin, and frontman Chad Petree. Charnow’s dance-diva vocals help take the big-budget production in a pop direction, further separating the band from their Killers/Franz Ferdinand dance rock reputation. Summertime club jams like "Waiting Alone" and "The Sun" are a distant cry from the dark undertones of 2008’s "Ricochet!" Strangely, III doesn’t sound like the work of a band at all. Katy Perry would be a closer touchstone for most of the songs, although Shiny Toy Guns have a few departures along the way, with "If I Lost You" and "Fading Listening" coming off like a mainstream version of chillwave, and the gentle piano ballad "Take Me Back to Where I Was" concluding the set.

Customer Reviews

Rocketship back to the We Are Pilots era!

I am a long time Shiny Toy Guns fan since I found We Are Pilots in 2006 after hearing "Le Disko" on the band's Myspace page. That record had a HUGE impact on my life and served as a catalyst to indie electronic/rock music which I have been listening to ever since. Like many, I was a little disappointed with Seasons of Poison which not only lacked their original female singer from the first record, Carah Faye, but also just felt overall less melodic, diverse, and hurried. I've been following the band on Facebook for a few years now, so naturally when I saw a third record was coming out this year I really got my hopes up. I am more than pleased to report this is their best record to date.

One major element of what makes this record great is the return of their former female singer from We Are Pilots, Carah Faye. Let me tell you, this woman has some killer pipes on her and can sing like no other female vocalist I've heard. Her voice brings a magnificent sonic quality and depth to each track which makes repeat listens of each track very enjoyable. By the second or third time I heard each track you will want to sing along. You can tell that her voice has grown a lot since We Are Pilots. Her voice is so strong and unique that it acts like an instrument on its own and, appropriately, she is put in center stage on this record.

Musically the record has a 1980's inspired electronic-pop thing going on similar to We Are Pilots and has less hard rock than Seasons Of Poison. Emotionally the album is quite diverse. There are some more upbeat pop bangers on here along the lines of "Le Disko" ("Somewhere To Hide", "Carrie", "Speaking Japanese", "The Sun"), and these are beautifully contrasted by more emotive synth/electronic tracks ("Mercy", "If I Lost You", "Waiting Alone"). This is a great return to form of the songwriting style Shiny Toy Guns excel at; a weaving of pop anthems into melodic electronic/synth songs. No other active current band does it as well, and this record is no exception.

There's also an extra layer of musical complexity and growth on this record which has never been there before. Songs like "E V A Y" (my favorite track on the record) and "Faded Listening" take some risks and show that they have grown immensely as songwriters and are challenging themselves. This makes repeat listens very enjoyable as you will hear new sub-melodies upon repeated listens. It's very apparent that they slaved over creating this record for years.

It's clear many of these tracks address Carah's departure from the band and the reformation later on. The lyrical tone of this record is very emotive: not in a sad way, but rather suggests strength was gathered from lessons learned. It's very real and you can tell there was some legitimate pain and growing done during the writing of these songs. This genuine struggle and emotion brings something to the record and you can't help but relate to these very human emotions as you listen. The album ends with an absolutely gorgeous piano ballad "Take Me Back To Where I Was", which is (musically) new territory for the band and very well done. You can tell the band has grown a lot and is both perfecting and defining their sound. I can't wait to see what they do next!

5/5 stars - best rock/pop record I've heard in 2012, hands down.

They are back!!!

I've listened to this album for the past week and I've defintiely gotta say that STG is back is business baby!!! This is so reminiscent of We Are Pilots and features lyrics that touch the heart the same as their premiere album. This will be on repeat for a while! Shiny Toy Guns, never leave me again! I wonder what I'd do if I lost you!

Terribly Boring Album

I have been a fan of Shiny Toy Guns since We Are Pilots, and LOVED Season of Poison and thought it showed real growth for them, but this album is pretty disappointing from start to finish. The music feels bland and uninspired and it's not a terribly diverse album. Other than Waiting Alone, the only song that I could see being a moderately solid single is Speaking Japanese and that's a shade of a song compared to Le Disko. I still love STG, but this album just didn't do it for me.

Biography

Formed: December, 2002 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although formed in sunny California during the early 2000s, Shiny Toy Guns' music flaunts a sleek, '80s-influenced combination of synth-pop and electro-clash. Founded in 2001 by bassist/keyboardist Jeremy Dawson and guitarist/vocalist Gregori Chad Petree — both natives of central Oklahoma — the band's lineup was fully realized with the addition of vocalist Carah Faye Charnow (who was brought aboard in 2004 to replace the departing Ursula Vari) and drummer Mikey Martin. After building...
Full Bio
III, Shiny Toy Guns
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