Shiny Toy Guns
We Are Pilots
First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2007, Volume 14, #4
Written by Melissa Stroh
Its electronic beats can be heard in commercials as well as in the background of several television shows for teeny-boppers, but is Los Angelesí Shiny Toy Guns just another flash in the pan? With backlash bands like The Bravery and The Killers still going strong, Shiny Toy Guns is either really stupid or really smart. On one hand, listeners can choose to ignore the group completely by dismissing its album We Are Pilots as just another electronic-dipped effort. On the other hand, prospective fans could embrace the outing as something new and innovative. With the help of MTV and Myspace, most people wisely have chosen the latter approach.
A three-and-a-half minute rave ensues when Shiny Toy Gunsí first single Le Disko hits the speakers. Paired with Carah Fayeís matter-of-fact vocals and a thoughtfully placed electric guitar accompaniment, the compressed electronic beats pulse hypnotically and stop on a random cue. The result is a song that is brimming with just enough sexuality to make it interesting and just the right groove to get almost anyone dancing.
Even though Fayeís voice is the one that is associated with Shiny Toy Guns, she was actually the last to join the outfit. Jeremy Dawson and Gregori Chad Petree created the band, and Fayeís late arrival can be heard in the music. While other electronic/new wave groups showcase one singer, Shiny Toy Guns is different. Yes, Faye delivers most of the tracks on We Are Pilots, but she isnít necessarily the lead vocalist. For instance, she provides background vocals to Starts with One, giving Petree a chance to be in the spotlight, and the contrast between his unwavering voice and her sensual accompaniment works well time and again throughout the endeavor.
Another strong element of electronic music is the beats and sounds that are created. In Shiny Toy Guns, Dawson is responsible for the amazing synth and bass guitar lines, while Mikey Martin infuses the material with a set of sturdy drum parts. All of the bandís members do a fabulous job of fusing everything together. However, unlike other electronic outfits that tend to have the synthesizer as the main effect in the front of a song, Shiny Toy Guns uses the instrument as a backbone, where the bass typically resides. Itís refreshing to hear the instruments in such perfect yet skewed balance.
While most new wave bands stick to strictly overtly sensual lyrics, Shiny Toy Guns, once again, resists. The songs on We Are Pilots mix graspable narratives with subdued lyrics. Lines like "your fascination with naked walls of silk and skin/with no conditions" on Donít Cry Out slide into a listenerís ears and nestle gently before they let go. The band feels no need to beat anyone over the head with overt talk about sex, and in a world where such references often are ridiculously blatant, Shiny Toy Gunsí poetic lyrics become a breath of fresh air. Throughout We Are Pilots, the trendy beats and suggestive lyrics make it hard not to get up and dance. Whether itís a rave-style hit like Le Disko or a less obvious choice like Donít Cry Out, Shiny Toy Guns just canít seem to go wrong. Ĺ
We Are Pilots is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box