The neo-goth/new-wave quartet Shiny Toy Guns
gets its firepower from a wide combination of talents. A lot of it has to do with the group's two lead singers, one male, one female, who have an uncanny knack for audible synchronization. Each boasts a powerful voice with plenty of angst to fit their gothic tendencies. The standout of the two singers is Carah Faye Chadrow, and it would be a surprise if she didn't come out with a solo album in the next 12 months. As much as she clicks with cohort Chad Petree, she's just too charming and polished for Universal (the band's label since 2006) to resist a spinoff. Still, the songs themselves feature cool hooks and always-danceable grooves, and the band's double-barreled vocals outweigh any minor deficiencies.
Often taking the stage with razor-sharp haircuts and heavy makeup, they seem to have watched Tony Scott's 1983 film The Hunger one too many times. But their Cure/Bauhaus/David Bowie updates sometimes come with a streak of post-Marilyn Manson electro-horror, which is a trait they'll hopefully grow out of soon. Thankfully, they eschew repetitive techno beats and focus on aggressive rock and new-wave drum patterns. Put these infectious rhythms, the melodious semi-anthems, and their ultra-hip, youthful energy together in concert and the crowd is virtually guaranteed a nonstop adrenaline rush. Andrés Solar