On Shayna Rain’s new EP, the Vegas-based four-piece finds itself on new legs with smoky electro-pop at its foundation. A sharp turn from the outfit’s previously bluesy sound, Paper Flowers finds the group—no longer called Shayna Rain and the Part Time Models—at its most powerful and evocative yet.
Singer Shayna Mercer’s sentimental perspective serves as the focal point, with her frosty vocals front and center on the four-song EP. And while the new direction feels organic, Shayna Rain’s new sound was born partly of necessity. “[Bassist] Nick [Boswell] was on tour, and we had to do a benefit show,” Mercer says. [Drummer and producer Steven] Zeller has a project called Dawnr, and he makes electronic music. I have a bunch of solo stuff, so he [was] like, ‘Why don’t we just try to put electronic stuff to your solo stuff?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ve always wanted to do this.’”
Written and recorded at Naked City Audio over four months, the EP shows a new level of connectedness within the band. Between Zeller’s downtempo electronics and Mercer’s opaque musings on passion, love and loss, Shayna Rain gradually bares its teeth. From featherlight opener “Hope” to the Warpaint-esque “Before My Body,” Paper Flowers is intricate and powerfully relatable.
It also has a dynamic visual component. “We’re really focusing a lot on art and making sure we don’t neglect that,” Mercer says, who enlisted four local artists—Victoria Fong, Albert Montoya, Alex Hobbs and Auberi Zwickel—to create posters, each a companion to a song on the EP. Look for limited-edition packs at the September 21 Bunkhouse release show.
Shayna Rain With Glass Pools, Turvy Organ, Drunk Old Ladies. September 21, 9 p.m., $5. Bunkhouse Saloon, 702-982-1764..