We Lost the Signal in the Hills
Rating: 8 out of 10

Publication: Foxy Digitalis
Writer : Zac Keiller

As members of the thriving independent musical community in Denton Texas, Shiny Around The Edges have always struck me as a band more concerned with creating moods than simply writing their songs, granted there are songs in the sense that listeners are used to, but there are also “traces” of songs, strategically placed between, in, or around long silences and/or sheets of molten feedback. It is the atmosphere that occurs within these shifting traits that has pulled me in since first being exposed to their debut Secrets of the Double Blind.

Recorded over two years, and clocking in at just over thirty minutes, the atmosphere of We Lost The Signal In The Hills is a highly varied one, and effortlessly shifts between moaning guitar noise, mantra-like vocals, and traces of horns that evoke a mood akin to black and white noir; all of which is complimented with Jennifer Seman’s smooth hushed vocals. Husband Michael’s guitar work is both light and acoustic to electrified, stark and downright nasty. The same can be said of his vocals that are put to good use, notably on the track: "Applied Quantum Physics," a superior reworking of a song originally appearing on their debut.

With the recurring sounds of field recordings of twittering birds and horns, one could be mistaken for thinking this a concept album; although the tracks stand alone individually, I can’t help wondering if they are all pieces of a larger apocalyptic puzzle known only to the band members. I suppose I will have to keep guessing.

Secrets of the Double Blind was a bold opening statement and almost monochromatic. Packaged in a plain white cover with very little information and no color; the overall sound felt claustrophobic with nothing to tie it to any form of influence which was a great benefit to the work as a whole. We Lost The Signal In The Hills is like a darkened room, slowly punctured and transforming with light and color as the music unfolds.

This is an excellent achievement from a group of musicians who continue to progress into unknown areas. I can’t wait to hear what they create next.