1- Land of a Thousand Lies
2- So Many Tears
3- Ran out of Time
4- Breathe
5- Blood on the Line
6- Pray
7- Only for the Night
8- Live for me
9- Over You
10- Sanctuary
11- Save Me
12- Union Of souls

Lee Small – Vocals
Steve Harris – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Roy Davis – Bass
Joe Basketts – Keyboards
Bob Richards – Drums

Once Bitten...Twice... (1983)
Brave the Storm (1985)
Excess All Areas (1987)
Misspent Youth (1989)
Welcome to the Madhouse (1994)
Regeneration (1999)
Let the Hammer Fall (1999)
Live in Europe (Live 1999)
Breakaway (EP 2001)
Unfinished Business (2002)
Sunset and Vine (2005)
Reflections: The Anthology 1983-2005 (Best of 2006)


Produced By Shy and Andy Faulkner
Mixed by Simon Hanhart
Mastered by Tim Debney at Fluid Mastering

Released 7/10-2011
Reviewed 21/11-2011

escape music

"Shy have been a mainstay in the melodic rock scene right back to the mid 1980s. But one fundamental difference separates Shy and the rest, they have stood the test of time and come shining through time and time again" quoted directly from the information sheet. What the fuck are they talking about?! In Sweden we haven't even heard of this band (except perhaps for the odd AOR extremist). There's not even a wikipedia article for Shy in Swedish (nor in Spanish, French and a lot of other big languages) and when I tried to find reviews online I couldn't find a single Swedish review except early reviews on this particular album. In English though there's a lot to read and Shy has even had their 15 minutes of fame hitting the charts and touring with Bon Jovi, Meat Loaf and other big names. They even had help from mr Don Dokken when writing the songs for their 1987 album 'Excess All Areas'. So why did Shy miss out reaching the rest of the world? Have they been too shy to take their music elsewhere?

The first thing that strikes me as I start to browse information about this band is that they have a guitarist called Steve Harris. They're a British band and were formed in 1980, since I as a Swede don't know anything about this band I just had to take a further look at if this was the same Harris that handle the bass in Iron Maiden, but of course it wasn't. Silly of me to even check it out, but better safe than sorry. However, with their first studio album in six years I guess the inducted Shy fans react mostly on who's handling the microphone these days as long time serving vocalist Tony Mills has left the band and been replaced by Lee Small, a short little fellow (I guess) with a past in Surveillance and Phenomena. Two other bands I've never heard of before. (Seems like I have some catching up to do here). Small have a smooth and seductive voice. Like a hawk or some sort of predator pigeon. And music-wise we have a pompous rock album with grand keyboard lines and strong melodies. Big brother Daniel would probably call it AOR for dummies, but with keyboard leads instead of guitars. Me, I simply call it strong AOR with keyboard leads.

The melodies are so strong that not even Žydrūnas Savickas, Mariusz Pudzianowski and Magnús Ver Magnússon could beat them. Not even together. It's like just over an hour of Atlas strong music that's smooth as the cheek on a baby that's been polished with sand paper. I think you'd have to be mad not to appreciate this album at least to some extent. However, to make AOR that's good seems to be something many band succeed with. To make AOR that kicks ass, that really awesome! AOR that's super - now that's definitely more difficult! So… how about Shy?

Well, as all decent AOR bands they have some songs that really grabs you like a lobster claw and throws you around like a tornado. But then there are also some songs that just are as most AOR songs are - good but nothing special. They are easy to listen to, makes you happy to hear and brings enjoyment - but they doesn't give you that really special feeling that those real killers do. On this album the killers are Breathe, Pray, Over You and So Many Tears. The rest are really good AOR but neither fillers or killers. I like how they use strings and almost classical music arrangements from time to time. They create this atmospheres around the music and sometimes I feel like I was listening to any of those numbers of rock operas that was so popular 5-10 years ago. Like Aina, Once And Future King, Nostradamus or Avantasia to mention a few. That small guy really isn't shy to prove himself in the band and his voice is big and has great range. At times it really sound like there were a handful of vocalists on the album - especially in the later part of the album.

So with my first encounter with Shy coming to an end, I must say I had a really great first experience with this British constellation that stands the test of time and come shining through. This album shines big time! In fact, of all AOR albums I've heard from this year, this is by far the best of them all! And the best songs on this album, Pray and Over You are so good you almost get a fever. I stood long thinking about the score before finally deciding to go with the more shy line and award them with a five H score instead of the six. I think this album will speak directly to all who like AOR and to all of you lost rockers of the 80's! If you should only buy one AOR album this year, this is probably the one I would recommend (or any of those that Daniel has awarded with sixes that I haven't heard yet). Music to enjoy! To the full extent!

As the weeks has passed while I've been working with this review, we've got the sad, sad news that guitarist Steve Harris, mentioned above, has passed away in a brain tumor. Hallowed want to offer our deepest condolences to the band, friends and family of Steve and give them our very best!Are you one of those moved by the sounds of Steve and Shy? Please enter the official website linked on the left and leave a comment on the post from October 29th. RIP.


Label: Escape Music/Connecting Music
Three similar bands: Van Halen/Journey/Vega
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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