Back in the day of poodle hair and spandex, UK rock legends Shy gave genre cousin success stories like Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Dokken, and Europe a run for their money. Shy returns from a nearly six year hiatus to reboot and launch their tenth full-length studio album, simply self-titled. Shy has lost nothing in this process as the power of melodic arena rock, lush and bombastic, is revived in all its glory on this album.
To be convinced, one needs only to hear the beginning moments of the opener Land of a Thousand Lies: a massive synth/symphonic start leads to even more massive arena rock. The song is also characteristic of Shy's musical formula: strong melodic arrangements driven by massive vocal arrangements, a steady rhythm section, and soaring guitar solos, and this is under girded by a luxurious layer of synthesizers. Across the disc, the sound is huge. This recipe certainly defines the power ballads Breathe, Save Me, and Only for the Night. The latter rings more of AOR simply for its smoothness. But that AOR character rises in Over You and the longest track Sanctuary, where Shy works their style with precision.
If anything holds back this disc then, ultimately, it's the inherent familiarity in that formula. By the time you get to Over You, but certainly the closing Union of Souls, you have a sense you've heard this all before. But, it sounds so good; it's a guilty pleasure like enjoying two fingers of Glenlivet single malt Scotch whiskey, instead of some bottom shelf piss water. One final note: Tony Mills (TNT) may be gone but vocalist Lee Small (Phenomena, Surveillance) certainly brings stability and power to the mic stand.
Their self-titled album finds Shy in grand form, delivering massive and melodic arena ready rock. Strongly recommended, and put it on your short list for the top ten melodic rock albums of 2011.