Shiny Toy Guns

Season of Poison

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Shiny Toy Guns' sophomore effort sheds some of the retro appeal that fueled the band's first record, We Are Pilots, in favor of a dark electronica/rock hybrid that recalls Evanescence and the melodic side of Linkin Park. Female singer Sisely Treasure makes her debut with the group, having replaced the departing Carah Faye Charnow several months before the album's release, and her vocals brim with the energy of an aggressive cheerleader. Such rhythmic scream/singing provides a nice contrast to Chad Petree, who handles the bulk of the album's melodic vocals. With Charnow out of the picture, this is undoubtedly Petree's band, and Treasure adds a fiery, sensual spark without hijacking the spotlight. Personnel changes notwithstanding, the biggest difference here is the band's decreased debt to the dancefloor, as they now rely more heavily on guitars and distortion pedals rather than synthesizers. "Ghost Town" flaunts a stomping, club-ready drumbeat before dissolving into a mainstream rock chorus, but tracks like "Money for That" and "When Did This Storm Begin" are more suited to headbanging than dance moves. When the bandmates decide to revisit the '80s-inspired sounds of their debut, as they do on "I Owe You a Love Song," the results are decidedly mixed. The song bubbles with keyboard undercurrents, but the chorus relies too heavily on Petree's long, sustained high notes, which lose their luster after two key changes and nearly four minutes of repetitive hooks. Season of Poison is bound to please fans of goth metal and electro-laced rock, and the gorgeous "Frozen Oceans" appealingly finishes the album with lush balladry. Even so, this seems like a slight stumble after We Are Pilots' strong start, although Shiny Toy Guns have yet to lose their momentum.

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