Release Date: October 3, 2006
Label: Umvd Labels
Inside We Are Pilot’s liner notes there are the words Version 3.0, alluding to the fact that this major label debut by Shiny Toy Guns is in fact the third incarnation of this album (two different demo versions being released previously). Given that this is the version released to cd shelves, it should be perfected, right? The band certainly photograph well, looking like charismatic sci-fi superheroes in their press photos. And the record sounds great. Very stylish. The question then becomes: is this a case of style over substance?
Well… yes and no. The record has some amazing high points, and the songs appearing on earlier demo versions of the album have been polished until they…ahem…shine. This being said, We Are Pilots is not quite as consistent as it could (and should) be. Let’s get the clunkers out of the way first, since there are thankfully very few. Tracks like Starts With One and Chemistry Of A Car Crash are the kind of songs that you could throw against the wall a hundred times and they still wouldn’t stick. Just not memorable enough. Luckily, there is plenty to love on We Are Pilots. The album’s centerpiece is When They Came For Us, an astonishing cinematic science fiction story-song. It’s mysterious and hauntingly alien, just like those press photos. Surefire dance smashes Le Disko and Don’t Cry Out give the album some much needed showstopper power, though elegant opener You Are The One and gorgeous closer We Are Pilots shouldn’t be missed either.
While Shiny Toy Guns don’t particularly reinvent anything, they play their electro/rock/pop combination with verve and an earnestness that’s absolutely contagious. The album has its flaws, but you’ll need a break to get a drink in between fits of dancing anyway. B+
Key Tracks: When They Came For Us, Le Disko, Don’t Cry Out