Music

[Synth-pop]

Shiny Toy Guns

Season of Poison

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The term “unclassifiable” may have negative connotations when it comes to disease or foodstuffs, but in the case of Shiny Toy Guns, it’s an unequivocal compliment. Chalk it up to the Grammy-nominated foursome’s apparent aversion to stasis (releasing three versions of retro-minded debut We Are Pilots in two years, cycling through three female vocalists in four), as their unfortunately titled sophomore effort is a surprisingly agile, pleasantly aggressive romp through the fringes of modern/alt-rock and beyond.

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Shiny Toy Guns
Four stars
Beyond the Weekly
Shiny Toy Guns

The Guns’ electro-pop leanings remain at the foreground, but like the rolling thunderheads that punctuate the album, things quickly turn heavier, darker and highly unpredictable. That’s not to say Poison is all doom and gloom; “Money for That” bursts with building rhythms and shout-along nostalgia, while the winsome “I Owe You a Love Song” and “Turned to Real Life” both rank among the most saccharine-sweet dance-floor contenders in recent memory. Then there are “It Became a Lie on You,” “Season of Love” and closer “Frozen Oceans,” each of which alternates between barely perceptible flutters of melody and soaring, lushly layered orchestration.

Synth, organ and cascading guitars create a wild ride overall, careening and chaotic as anything Mother Nature—or the human heart—can dish out. And, like both, the musical mystery only deepens the further one goes.

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Julie Seabaugh

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