[CD Review] Shiny Toy Guns, 'Season of Poison' (Universal Motown)

Shiny Toy Guns guitarist/singer Gregori Chad Petree and bassist/keyboardist Jeremy Dawson (the two creative forces behind the Los Angeles synth-pop band) evidently like to keep trying until they get things just the way they want them. They released their debut album, We Are Pilots, three different times and are now on their third female singer, Long Beach native Sisely Treasure.

So with that kind of dedication, it’s surprising their sophomore effort—if you can call it that, as each version of We Are Pilots varied plenty—is as uneven as it is. Season of Poison tries to be a lot of different things, but not much of it is very good. There’s the misguided attempt at a ballad, “I Owe You a Love Song”; the generic rock of “Money for That”; and the soulless pop pap “Turned to Real Life.” To say nothing of the unfortunately titled “Poison,” a meandering eight minutes of . . . something. Something boring.

Shiny Toy Guns are at their best with bratty dance anthems such as 2006’s “Le Disko,” a radio and club hit that also ended up in TV commercials for just about everything (most recognizably for Motorola’s RAZR2). It was a style that previous lead singer Carah Faye Charnow was especially adept at. In her first release with the band, Treasure (who was a contestant on the infamously ridiculous CW reality show The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll) replicates that attitude quite well on standout tracks “Ghost Town” and the slinky lead single “Ricochet!”—the only songs on the record that could possibly give you the notion to put your booty in motion.

It’s clear that Shiny Toy Guns didn’t want to simply make a soundtrack to sweaty nights on dance floors. Which is admirable from an artistic standpoint, sure. But that doesn’t mean it’s any fun to listen to.

 
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