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The Shys: 'The Hangman'

Californian garage rock revivalists the Shys titled their second full length record You'll Never Understand This Band the Way That I Do, and from the way it sounds, you can't help but wonder if the band they're referring to is the White Stripes. Between the album's heavy, blues-inspired guitars, minimalist drumming, and lead singer Kyle Krone's distinctive howl, the record could easily be packaged in red and white. But while Detroit's duo can, at times, err on the side of experimentalism, the Shys have taken the crunchy guitars and heavy, fuzz-filled solos, and added more traditionally poppy group choruses and catchy melodies to come out with gritty rock that is immediately accessible.

This record thrives on explosive dynamics. "The Hangman" opens with blazing guitars, only to drop them out completely two seconds later. "Savior" is defined by its pounding staccato drums and guitars, all before a rather melodic refrain of "I feel just like I found my savior." Both tracks offer drastic musical breakdowns at key points, offering a powerful, calm-before-the-storm quality.

Heavy guitars are clearly the album's signature, but that isn't to say it's a constant barrage. The sing-along choruses of "She's Already Gone" and "Mercy" echo Oasis, proving to be highly catchy, radio-ready rock, though the Shys stand as a grittier, gutsier version. The album's opener, "Spanish Village By The Sea," is the record's sole instrumental track, and the melodic strings that drive it set it apart sonically. That said, those strings stab like daggers, giving the track a sharp edginess that keeps it in line with the rest of the album.

This record's release has come quickly on the heels of She's Already Gone, a three song EP the band put out. Guitarist Chris Wulff explains that the band is staying busy. "The next step for The Shys is consistent touring on this record through the rest of 2008, and then we immediately plan on releasing something else. We also have high hopes to go overseas and play in Europe and would love to eventually play over in Asia."

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Conor McKay