Band Name: Shiny Toy Guns
Album Name: We are Pilots
Best element: Umvd Labels
Label name: n/a
Band e-mail: www.myspace.com/shinytoyguns
Inside the liner notes for We Are Pilots, there are the words Version 3.0, alluding to the fact that this major label debut by Shiny Toy Guns is in fact the third incarnation of this album (two different demo versions being released previously). Given that this is the version released to CD shelves, it should be perfected, right? The band certainly photographs well, looking like charismatic sci-fi superheroes in their press photos. And the record sounds great- very stylish. The question then becomes: is this a case of style over substance?
Well… yes and no. The record has some amazing high points, and the songs appearing on earlier demo versions of the album have been polished until they…ahem…shine. This being said, We Are Pilots is not quite as consistent as it could (and should) be. Let’s get the clunkers out of the way first, since there are thankfully very few. Tracks like Starts With One and Chemistry Of A Car Crash are the kind of songs that you could throw against the wall a hundred times and they still wouldn’t stick; just not memorable enough.
Luckily, there is plenty to love on We Are Pilots. The album’s centerpiece is “When They Came for Us,” an astonishing cinematic science fiction story-song. It’s mysterious and hauntingly alien, just like those press photos. Surefire dance smashes “Le Disko” and “Don’t Cry Out” give the album some much needed showstopping power, though elegant opener “You Are the One” and gorgeous closer “We Are Pilots” shouldn’t be missed either.
While Shiny Toy Guns don’t particularly reinvent anything, they play their electro/rock/pop combination with verve and an earnestness that’s absolutely contagious. The album has its flaws, but you’ll need a break to get a drink between fits of dancing anyway. B+
Key Tracks: When They Came For Us, Le Disko, Don’t Cry Out