Reunited and it feels so good, Shiny Toy Guns are back with their third album, appropriately titled III. For a little back story without all of the details, the band made their second album without lead singer Carah Faye Charnow, and replaced her with Sisely Treasure. In early 2011, the band made a statement on their website along with a countdown to a big announcement. This announcement was that Carah Faye would be rejoining the band and that they were working on their third album.
Flash forward to now, and III is released and the band is touring as a happy family again.
First track, “Somewhere to Hide” sets the scene for the album. Starting with Shiny Toy Guns’ usual synth/guitar blend and Carah’s pure vocals, the track is catchy and dance inducing. Official first single “Waiting Alone” starts slow and mystical and evolves into a foot tapping drum heavy ballad.
“Carrie,” what I’m assuming is a tribute to Carah Faye, brings the bass and Chad Petree and Carah’s alternating vocals, begging, “Carrie, where did you go?” As typical, the bridge slows down and brings that transparent, fantasy sound of melodies intertwined.
“If I Lost You” sounds like something out of the early 90s, with its “ahhs” and “doos” and surging vibe. Due to its repetitiveness, I didn’t enjoy this song until I heard it performed live. However, the lyrics are simply beautiful and honest.
Personal favorite, “Speaking Japanese” brings the edginess and sexiness in Carah’s vocal range. With fierce lyrics and heavier choruses, this track is the “Le Disko” of III. Quite the opposite, “Mercy” shows the delicacies in Carah’s voice, while contrasting with the rawer tones in Chad’s voice.
“Wait 4 Me” has Carah’s breathless whispers over tranquil instrumentals before a bloodcurdling scream from Chad. The contrasts in this song are goose bump inducing and the harmonies are equally as chilling. At almost 6 minutes long, this song takes you on a journey and wraps you in its intricacies.
Second single “Fading Listening” is another post wave dance track that doesn’t skimp on the vibe. The first minute of this song transports you onto a dance floor in the late 80s wearing bright colors and sporting a perm.
“The Sun” which was the first song they released as the reunited band, has that oh so well-known male/female vocal layering and a catchy synth pop rhythm that will keep you waiting for the sun.
“E V A Y” surges with every synth board wave and bass thump. The warm tones and echoes make this seem like the soundtrack of a romantic comedy.
Last track “Take Me Back to Where I Was” comes as a bit of a surprise compared to the rest of the album. Purely piano with only Chad’s vocals and minimal backing this track is gentle and honest and shows another side of the band and their musical ability.
Overall, the album is definitely along the lines of Shiny Toy Guns’ catalogue. From gentle and mystical, to edgy and fierce, to everything in between, III is a grand reunion of the band whose passion and love for music and one another can be heard in every song.
Tracks to listen to: Speaking Japanese, The Sun.