A lot of the press leading up to the first release from Shy Boys centered around the band’s home of Kansas City and their lack of mastery on their instruments. Perhaps that’s a good place to start, but isn’t it just the music that ultimately matters? If so, then the Shy Boys are off to a great start. Imperfections do exist on this self-titled effort, but they make the most of those moments, turning those inadequacies into gems.
“Is This Who You Are” kicks the album off in the right way, using a deep-toned guitar line to really build the emotion for the listener, but then things fall quiet for the vocals to make their introduction; they’re perhaps a bit too soft building to the chorus, but that chorus is supremely rewarding. Shy Boys then slide into their ode to the Beach Boys with “Keep Me On My Toes.” The harmonizing here is something quite special, almost perfect, but then the song abruptly ends; I could have used a few more minutes.
When going back through the whole album, I find myself gravitating to songs like “Bully Fight” and “And I Am Nervous.” The tones of the guitar is right up the alley of my personal tastes. Not to mention both tracks alternate between the soft/loud dynamic, with really warm melodies; these are the kind of moments in your listening experience that will reveal themselves to be ultimately rewarding, even if you notice a few moments that seem off-key.
Of course, you can’t take a listen to Shy Boys seriously unless you dive head first into the hi-hat propelled gem that is “Postcard.” It’s the apex of the record, which unfortunately means that the latter half of the record drags just a slight bit. The songs definitely have a draw in the way they’re constructed around the melody, but they’re definitely a look into the softer side of the group. Listening through, I don’t mind these tracks at all, and in fact, really enjoy “Trim” as a closer, but there’s definitely a noticeable change in the closing energy.
Despite whatever faults lurk in the hidden folds of this self-titled release, it’s clear that Shy Boys do have a knack for songwriting. That should make this the jumping off point for what we all hope will be a nice career, as these tunes are just too good to simply ignore. I have a sneaking suspicion that this one’s going to keep creeping into my own play lists as we go through the year, and if longevity works for me, I hope it works for them too.
Download: Shy Boys – Bully Fight [MP3]