When Carah Faye left Shiny Toy Guns for a new life and boyfriend in Sweden in 2007, fans weren’t sure if they would ever get back the same metallic sound that made hits like “Le Disko.” But five years, a couple of line-up changes and one reconciliation later, the original four synth-poppers are back for III, Shiny Toy Guns’ third album.

The Los Angeles-based quartet teamed up with Grammy-winning producer Tony Maserati — the brain behind a handful of Beyonce’s hits and Marc Anthony’s “I Need to Know” — for the long-in-demand LP. The collaboration between legendary Maserati and a band built on DIY ethics shoots out a tempered limbo between pop-dance tracks and yearning ballads.

Standard themes like love, loss and recovery pop up but the band’s sordid and public history that bassist Jeremy Dawson once described as a “reality show” is on display in the lyrics.

“Carrie” lets guitarist/ vocalist Chad Petree and vox queen Carah Faye battle out the band’s story in a back and forth. They trade verses and come together in a harmony that was missed when Carah was songwriting on her own.

The result: a more mature sound that’s still designed to play around. This kind of band never wants to grow up. The first single “Waiting Alone” is a classic break up song. Carah sings about waiting up alone for a love, one that won’t give her the affection she wants and probably needs. It doesn’t hurt that she runs across the country in the short film #Loverunner that was released with the song. It’s a safe single, one that has an unavoidable hook. It’s a brain sticker that won’t go away easily.

There are filler tracks. “If I lost You” is predictable, like soft trance tracks we’ve heard before. Carah asks questions we don’t really need the answers to (“Oh my baby, where have you gone?”) and says things we don’t really care about (“I wonder what I’d do if I lost you). Lots of do-do-dos are (dare I say) boring. “Mercy” comes off as whiny and harkens back to early-‘00s boy bands who dabbled in synth.

But “Wait 4 Me” is reminiscent of their Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom (Coming Home)” cover made famous in the 2010 Lincoln MKZ commercial. Carah and Chad merge their voices in harmonies we’ve been waiting years for. Here the stakes are higher and the builds swell bigger. ”Take me now to a higher place where love won’t die,” Carah croons. This is where Shiny Toy Guns is the shiniest. “Take your life,” Carah and Chad tell each other in a band-identified-devolution pact.

“Fading Listening” doubles as the upcoming tour name probably because the beginning claps and piano chords will swoon a live crowd. But “The Sun” is the hook-iest song on the album. Drummer Mikey Martin excels as Chad sings over and over, “Next time I’ll wait for the sun.” It’s a classic upbeat dance song with traditional rock rhythm. “I know your dreams are full of dragons,” Carah says.

The first 10 tracks are cohesive and understandable — Shiny Toy Guns is back in action, they want to say — until you reach the end. “Take Me Back to Where I Was” is a screeching halt. Gone is the synth and electronic mixing. All that’s left is a piano and lyrics like “Take me back to where I was when I was thinking of no one else in a moment that I’ll never forget.” It’s a run-on ballad and it’s out of place on the comeback album. Die hard fans might buy into its seeming reality but it feels like an “oops” moment.

For a band that couldn’t handle the demands of a 300-day non-stop tour and broke down under past pressures, Shiny Toy Guns takes baby steps back into the touring world. The Fading Listening tour hits the road on Monday for a 9-city marathon and the foursome is eager to keep the group together. From the sound of the album — last track included — there’s a dotted line of mended friendship that will keep them fighting.

Buy on iTunes.


One winner will have the opportunity to win a signed vinyl copy of the album, signed cd, elektro Merch and mags.


Follow @shinytoyguns & @elektro on Twitter and tweet the hashtag #STGelektro telling us why you want to win! Contest will end on the 26th of October.

Written By: Jessica Goodman

More From Elektro Daily