When you’re constantly asked to review music by relative nobodies, sometimes listening to new albums becomes a painful task. In such cases, creative systems of forced listening become necessary to keep oneself from going completely musically stir-crazy. What I do before embarking on long trips is this: I throw a bunch of albums that need reviewing onto my iPod, without filter. I then set the iPod to shuffle and prepare myself to weather a storm of inevitable musical garbage.

This process sometimes becomes a little depressing, so I wind up defaulting back to albums I listen to all the time. Hence, when the occasional unknown track pops up and stands out, I find myself asking, “Whoa, who is this?!” On these rare occasions, rather than fumbling automatically for the “skip” button, I burn said track and band into my memory. When this experience happens more than once with the same artist and same album, I begin to suspect the artist might actually be worth paying careful attention to.

With Shy Child’s latest disc, random stumblings upon “Liquid Love” and “Take Us Apart” revealed that I did indeed find a winner.

Liquid Love is the NYC-based duo’s third full-length. Shy Child has certainly made a name for itself in a non-intrusive way; the two have been distributed through relatively small labels, but they have embarked on a number of notable tours and remixed well-known acts like The Futureheads, Tokyo Police Club, and Editors. They are certainly far from forgettable within the subgenre.

Listen to “Liquid Love” – DOWNLOAD MP3

Thirty seconds of ambient filler kicks off the album, painfully encompassing more cheesiness than it probably should and starting the disc off on an extremely low note. And while cheesiness doesn’t necessarily go away during the course of the album, it does become wrapped up in dance beats and become strangely charming. Shy Child makes plentiful use of falsetto and engaging arrangements, both of which keep otherwise repetitive beats from feeling repetitive. Tracks like “Criss Cross” can somehow go on for seven-and-a-half minutes without losing a listener, for they wax and wane like any respectable progressive electronic tracks do. The majority of the album, though, caters more to an indie electronic crowd, with more traditional pop song structures; “Disconnected and “Take Us Apart” being prime examples of this. These tracks are simple and easily palatable right off the bat. Repeat listens also reveal a world of subtleties which are easy to overlook because of the general ostentation of the rest of the music, but they are there, the smatterings of keys and gentle ambient whirring popping in and out.

Unfortunately, it’s true that the second half of Liquid Love is not quite up to snuff, especially considering the excellent first half. The album would benefit from the removal of tracks like “Strange Emotion” and “ESP,” which have just about nothing to offer. Still, though, Shy Child’s style of electronic dance rock is hard to deny when it actually gets going, and its versatility makes it just as appropriate at a rock venue or on a dance floor.

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