Shy - 'Shy'

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Shy - 'Shy'

The melodic rock highlight of the year so far.

It has been six long years since Shy last released an album of new music, which arrived in the shape of 2005’s excellent ‘Sunset & Vine’ opus. The time between ‘S&V’ and this self-titled comeback has seen rhythm guitarist Ian Richardson depart, but the more obvious hole to fill is that of singer and to be fair, to many the face of Shy, Tony Mills. Since then the band has had an on and off and on again marriage with one time Surveillance and Phenomena vocalist Lee Small. However with Mills finally making TNT his first priority, it is the bluesier, richer tones of Small which adorn this album.

There are three aspects to ‘Shy’ which immediately become apparent: the first and foremost being the stunning guitar work of Steve Harris (Mills’ departure leaves him as the only original member left in the band), which is sharp, punchy and impressively dextrous. Bolstering the huge melodic riffs and blistering solos comes Joe Basketts’ humungous, infectious and string effect laden keyboards. However the most surprising aspect of ‘Shy’ is how easily and effectively Small has slipped into the line up, offering a warmer vocal than his predecessor, but one which perfectly slots into the classy melodic rock on show here. Whilst not a concept album, ‘Shy’ has many uplifting elements which link the songs together, making for one of the most cohesive albums in this genre for quite some time.

Basketts’ keyboards add an air of authority, sometimes giving the effect of a sumptuous movie soundtrack while never losing sight of what the songs themselves require to hit home every time. In fact the combination of the fiery guitars, the melodic key-work, the superb vocals and the rock solid rhythm section of Bob Richards on drums and Roy Davis on bass, results in an album that makes a bristling, insistent first impression, but also leaves a huge long-lasting impact. Highlights burst out across this whole release, with ‘So Many Tears’ illustrating the combination of galloping riffs, battering drums, roaming bass and layered keyboards perfectly, although in truth the soaring vocals from Small actually manage to top the lot.

It is however a trick that this album pulls off time and time again and with a consummate ease that many bands in this genre would find virtually impossible to match, with the likes of the pounding ‘Land Of 1000 Lies’, the stunning slow building, mid paced ‘Sanctuary’ or the ultra melodic guitar led ‘Union Of Souls’ being of the highest standard. And that isn’t even mentioning the guitar highlight of the whole album ‘Ran Out Of Time’, which has a riff worthy of the purchase price of this CD all on its own!

Put quite simply ‘Shy’ is the melodic rock highlight of the year so far and when you consider the standard of what has come before in 2011, I don’t make that assertion lightly.

Steven Reid

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