Shiny Toy Guns fail to recreate previous success

The new album tries to blend too many styles, and many tracks simply fail.
And the award for least interesting album art of the semester goes to... Shiny Toy Guns. Courtesy of Universal Motown

Season of Poison, Shiny Toy Gun's sophomore album, is a thematic experience - a cinematic accumulation of a soundtrack for every movie genre ever conceived, mashed together quickly and without regard for musical merit. Take any movie, apply Season of Poison, and it will provide the soundtrack for intense scenes and sappy romantic moments. Be careful, however. Whatever movie this soundtrack is applied to will be immediately turned into crap.

Shiny Toy Guns' last album, We Are Pilots, the winner of the 2008 Grammy for "Best Electronic/Dance Album," pumped dance electronica with invigorating beats and catchy lyrics. Although Pilots was received well by alternative radio audiences, Shiny Toy Guns apparently developed amnesia and forgot everything listeners enjoyed. Instead of continuing with the success of "Le Disko," they created a 15-car pile-up of an album, an auditory mess. This could be attributed to the loss of the band's female vocalist after We Are Pilots, Carah Faye Charnow, who left the band before Season of Poison, saying the male members of the band had booted her out.

The album is confusion. Lyrics cannot even be interpreted through the catastrophic mess of synth, bashing drums and crashing cymbals. Tracks like "Frozen Ocean" and "Season Of Love" wail about something love-related, though song content cannot be gathered from the mess of background noise. The songs do not stick with a general, consistent sound, and even if they did, it is a sloppy one. Shiny Toy Guns tries to compile multiple genres into the same song, ranging from metal to electronica to ballads.

Most of the album is a junkyard of badly done musical collages, but a few tracks are salvageable. "Ricochet!," the album's first single, released in September, features the voice of a new band member, Sisely Treasure, who was ironically a finalist on the CW's first season of "The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll." Treasure's vocals mesh well with the band's new goth/industrial sound, ripping through metal-inspired guitar riffs. Her name also fits with the band's name, sticking with the general playful-yet-childish theme.

At times, tracks on the album seem to be promising, but then they leave the listener disappointed. "When Did This Storm Begin" kicks off the album with a quiet, one-minute guitar interlude that does not build a climax or induce excitement for the 10 songs that follow. "Poison" is saturated with a useless Transylvanian-esque organ solo that only wastes time in the eight-minute song. "Frozen Ocean" raises hopeful anticipation, but then lets the listener down by soaking the song in never-ending proclamations of constantly repeated statements.

Season of Poison might have originality and it might have variation, but the album takes these words to new heights, makes them kick and scream, then drops them from a cliff and watches as they fall to their death. The goal of being unique was taken too far, and though methods used to make this album were noble and thorough, they were rarely effective.

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