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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
The Gun Shys
The Gun Shys EP
Intravenous Records

Rating: 7/10 ?

July 8, 2005

Rolling up with a pocket full of roofies and brain-dead pick-up lines like "You're easy on the eyes," The Gun Shys don't particularly care if you find them ridiculously shallow - as long as you're going home with the Los Angeles garage-rock trio's self-titled EP, it's okay if you don't respect them. After all, we're all adults here, and it's just sex, right? By the way, is it cool that they didn't bring any protection? It would just cramp their style.

The Gun Shys do have a lot of that, from their vintage clothes to their pouty expressions, both worn for the camera. Beyond that there's not a whole lot of substance, at least when it comes to the lyrics. Compared to The Gun Shys, the Neanderthals in Jet are perfect gentlemen - scholars even. Then again, it's like arguing about who's funnier, The Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers. With The Gun Shys, hilarity ensues when lead singer Kyle Krone belts out so-dumb-they're-awesome lyrics like "I saw you standing in the corner/I wanna tear your dress/I saw you hiding behind your eyes/You can't buy success" - and that's just a taste. There's a lot more where that came from.

Okay, so The Gun Shys aren't what you'd call deep, nor are they especially original (then again, neither is Franz Ferdinand, and you like them don't you?). Forget about the lyrics. Words aren't meant to win you over here. What The Gun Shys do best is play a swaggering brand of cock-rock that sounds like it was shot out of a canon. "The Usual Unusuals" lights the fuse, with knifing guitar movements and a whomping, danceable, post-punk rhythmic bounce that your beloved Franz Ferdinand would kill for. It's just as infectious as "Take Me Out," but far more edgy and sinister, with an unexpectedly spacey bridge that doesn't screw up the song's cohesion.

Strutting in behind it is "Madly In Action", which exudes the sleaze and glam-rock stomp of The New York Dolls while rocking, balls out, to the dirty grooves and growling guitars of The Stooges. More bluesy, but lacking the vitality of EP's standouts, is the closer "The Blowout," which smartly cops the bump-and-grind riffs of Iggy and his cronies.

Note that that's as far back as The Gun Shys go; they aren't a retro act. The Gun Shys are more aligned with contemporaries like the aforementioned Franz Ferdinand - especially on "Vaporize" - and The Strokes. The tightly wound "Two-Cent Facts" is rehashed This Is It, with the same bobbing rhythms, the same cocksure attitude and guitars as wiry as on "Last Nite" or "Someday."

…Which is precisely what bothers me about The Gun Shys' debut. There's a maddening sense this isn't the genuine article - that the band is just playing covers that they've simply renamed and appropriated for themselves. What's more, there's this staged, overly dramatic quality to songs like "Easy On The Eyes" and "The Usual Unusuals" that lends itself to the kind of posing you'd see in Duran Duran or Adam Ant videos. You can envision some video vixen with feathered hair and a sculpted, pale face with fierce New Wave makeup suddenly turning her head and staring seductively at the camera, with pursed lips and a pouty expression, everytime the chorus kicks in. If you can block out the subliminal MTV video suggestion of their music, The Gun Shys can be more fun than chasing Martha Quinn with a dead animal on a stick - and that is a good time, believe me.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad



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