17.03.2010, Words by Charlie Jones

Liquid Love

Wisely ditching the dated Nu-Rave stylings of their last album, 2007’s ‘Noise Wont Stop’, New York duo Shy Child have returned with an album that forgoes ADHD bedlam for glossy electronic pop.

As opening statements go, starting your album with a borrowed Fleetwood Mac riff is certainly a good way of declaring your new direction and one that the band build upon with a set of songs that heavily reference the sounds of expensively produced eighties soft rock.

At this point you’ll either be thrilled by this unexpected change in direction or reach for the eject button. If you’re like me though and have more than a soft spot in your heart for the likes of Hall & Oates and Michael MacDonald then the album’s opening salvo of sparkling pop will win you over easily.

Opening with the aformentioned title track, all twinkling percussion, synth washes, and that stolen riff, the 80s vibe is quickly established and reinforced over the next two efforts. Slightly more upbeat sibling Disconected and the chugging Take Us Apart.

The grinding slow electro of Criss Cross follows and is a clear highlight on the album, with its mesmeric beat strung out over seven minutes and Little Fluffy Clouds voice over, it has more in common with a massively pitched down french electro tune than it’s perky pop predesccors.

After this though the album tends to revert to type and carry on very much as it was, with several upbeat but fairly unremarkable pop songs underpinned by some perfectly danceable beats. It’s the albums saving grace that its first half is strong enough to carry, as the very smoothness of the production starts to grate after a while.

From The Beatles onwards, the ultra-polished production becomes not so much cloying as suffocating and you find yourself wishing that they’d have let just a little grit past their chrome shell. With the same dragging synth sound running through each track and the omnipresent plinky-plonky percussion, it becomes hard to differentiate one song from the next and it’s only the changes in tempo that indicate that you’re not stuck on repeat.

The album redeems itself at the last though with the closer, Dark Destiny, a track dripping wet with the tears of every 80s teen flick heroine. Managing to pull at just about every heartstring available, it stands head and sholders above the rest of the album’s second half.

So a mixed bag all in all, when it’s good it’s very good and when it’s not it’s… well, not that it’s bad as such. Individually none of these tracks should have you reaching for your gun but gorged in one go like a bucket full of candy, the overwhelming saccharine sweetness is likely to leave you wishing you’d shown just a little more restraint.

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