Release Date: Mar 15, 2010
Record label: Wall of Sound
Genre(s): Indie, Electronic
New York duo Pete Cafarella and Nate Smith first gained attention in America's nu-rave scene, wearing orange hoodies and scoring a cult hit with jerky 2007 electro-stomper Noise Won't Stop. However, they seem to have matured, their fourth album delivering a sound somewhere between the Scissor Sisters' exhilarating falsetto and the edgier global funk of Remain in Light-era Talking Heads. On tracks like the terrific Disconnected, Shy Child they reach that elusive collision of dancefloor exhibitionism and existential introspection.
If in the past Shy Child have been regarded as peripherals of the Noughties electro movement, then it’s often down to the fact that the Brooklyn-duo have willfully taken steps to tread a different line from many of their contemporaries. When Justice and Digitalism were tearing up Europe’s calendar of dance festivals in the summer of 2007, Pete Cafarella and Nate Smith were supporting those most uncool modern rock behemoths Muse, at Wembley Stadium. That year’s Noise Won’t Stop, meanwhile, eschewed the floor-filling stylings of their chart-storming peers in favour of sparser, R&B-influenced cuts of spiky cohesion.
Shy Child's previous album Noise Won't Stop hit on a sweet spot between the fashionable and the embarrassing, summed up in the album's surging, synth-heavy new wave sound that brought to mind early 1980s Genesis as much as early-80s Talking Heads. As with both those bands, Noise Won't Stop courted disaster by threatening to "mean it" too much: the songs affected knowing jadedness, while sounding disconcertingly earnest in their communication of disaffection, as if archness and distance are only emotions one feels about other things and other people. The result sounded, at its best, awkward, and loving Shy Child meant loving them because of, rather than in spite of, this awkwardness.
[a]Shy Child[/a] were new rave’s slightly odd American cousins; the Brooklyn duo’s Pete Cafarella played keytar and their tough, R&B-inflected electro was aggressively different. Their [b]‘Noise Won’t Stop’[/b] single is a minor classic. The [b]Shy Child[/b] of 2010, however, are much changed and rather lame. [b]‘Liquid Love’[/b] is their supposedly ‘female’ album – a patronising nonsense of a concept in itself – which means misty samples of [b]Fleetwood Mac[/b] (the third most pernicious influence on music, after cocaine and [b]The Rolling Stones[/b]), and much sensitively-lit, soft-focus pop-funk.
Undoubtedly impressive, well-honed and slickly produced. Alix Buscovic 2010 Noise Won’t Stop proclaimed the title of Shy Child’s 2007 album, a sonic assault of hyper-charged, barely controlled electro passion that broke the Brooklyn duo in the UK. The noise, as such, hasn’t stopped for its follow-up – but calling it noise seems at the very least inappropriate, if not downright offensive.