(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Monday, November 15, 2010

CD review - Shy Child, Liquid Love (2010)

Pete Cafarella (synth) and Nate Smith (drums) formed Shy Child to fuse progressive rock and electronic music. Their earlier albums maintained a strong rock aesthetic that anchored their electronic focus. Liquid Love has tossed that by the wayside to focus on a modern disco/electro funk/electronic pop sound. The arrangements are beat heavy and very busy. The layers of keyboards include shimmery arpeggios and choppy stabs. The falsetto vocals are relatively detached. The lyrics still aim higher than a lot of electronic dance bands, with some interesting lines and ideas. It's not bad, but it's nowhere near as interesting as their earlier work.

Late last year, Shy Child released Criss Cross to generate interest in Liquid Love. I wish the whole album were in this vein. The groove is somewhere between Kraftwerk and electro funk. There's a tight arpeggiatated synth that mutates occasionally over a grinding bass synthesizer line. Moody keyboard fills drop in and out. The whole track is crowded and trippy. The dynamics build up some strong transitions, so the seven plus minutes pass by quickly. This track compares favorably with some of LCD Soundsystem's songs. The only questionable decision is the chunk of phone interview audio inserted at the breakdown.

The other stand out track is Dark Destiny, which is a slower, synth pop ballad. It's a simple progression, with an encouraging vibe. Coming at the end of the album, it's like an arm around your shoulders looking back to better times and offering hope for the future.

I'll just nurse this bottle of Pilsner Urquell and see what the future brings...

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