SHIRAZ LANE – Carnival Days
This is one sophomore release I have been highly anticipating for some time. You may know what comes next. Sadly, for my ears, what I heard on Shiraz Lane‘s debut that had me listening over and over again is just not here on Carnival Days.
I realize I may be pinned up tight as the screech loving, simplistic hard rock tune loving person that I indeed am. Go ahead and pin away, as I am loud and proud of that. If I want experimental, I go to Pink Floyd and many others in my appreciated collection, that contain just that.
Right out of the gate, my ears are worried when I play lead song “Carnival Days”. I am not much for long intros, especially when they are circus sounds (KISS did it and failed too!). Once the song plays, I am ready to skip.
“The Crown” is more of what I am expecting, but still fails to deliver and I know repeat listening will not occur.
“Harder to Breathe” is a good song. The guitars are what I expect from Shiraz Lane. “Tidal Wave” has horns which I love, but the song just is not that sticky. It won’t stick to my playlist. “Gotta Be Real” slows right down, and I let go. UPDATE: After a third listen, this song has grown on me.
“People Like Us” was the song I first heard from this record prior to full release and, whilst I thought it was good, a month ago it didn’t stick and it still doesn’t now. “Shangri-La” is worthwhile. On my first listen, I paid attention and have gone back a few times to this track. Not sure it has the required stickiness though.
The remainder of the songs leave nothing to be desired for me, but perhaps they will for you. I want to like “Hope”, but it just tries too hard with too many sounds that distract from great lyrics and a fine chorus. The final track “Reincarnation” is 8 minutes, with a really good guitar solo around 4:30. However, that is about it before it transitions to funk for a bit. It seems like a clear attempt at a “November Rain” and “Coma” mashup from G n’ R, but it fails.
While I understand there is a maturing of life that occurs from the many years of experience built upon for a debut release to a generally rushed and much tighter timeline for a follow up. However, I have found sticking to your basic tenets rings truer. How is that for fancy words? You want to deliver experimental sounds, I will use 25 cent/pence/etc words rather than nickel ones.
Yes, I am bitter that after three complete listens, I am still trying hard to like more than 1-2 songs and liking is about as much positivity as I can muster. I do, however, hope Shiraz Lane stick around and deliver a third release that lies somewhere between their first two.
Blair De Abreu