Six years have passed since the band’s last album “Sunset & Vine”, two basic members left Shy… the vocalist Tony Mills to focus on TNT and the rhythm guitarist Ian Richardson. That was probably the reason why it took Shy so long to release a new album. The singer choice was of vital importance for the band, as it is for all the bands that have a personal style… should they try to find a clone of Mills or should they keep on with a guy that has a different tone of voice than his predecessor? Steve Harris (which is the last original member of Shy) has chosen wisely. Lee Small (Surveillance and Phenomena) was finally (after some “come and go” appearances) the vocalist of Shy. His voice is harder than Tony’s and he can be characterized as a more classic rock voice. The first time… he may sound a little weird, but after some listens he seems that he had teamed up well with the guys and totally fits Shy’s music.
To speak the truth, Shy had always been the brainchild of the charismatic songwriter & guitarist Steve Harris. He was responsible for the songwriting and for delivering so emotional and melodious guitar riffs & solos. The style of the band has evolved through the years… it has become more complex (especially from the second era of the band and later, after the 00s), more elusive and moodier than in the past… that also led them to release the best Shy album of all time, the astonishing “Unfinished Business”.
“Shy” has all those melodic rockin’ moody elements that are characteristic of the band’s music and along with Lee’s voice, they make this album truly interesting. Steve Harris (guitars) is all over the album… he is almost everywhere… great riffs, fantastic solos, melodies and songwriting along with a gloomy atmosphere that lies underneath. Beloved songs are: “Land of a Thousand Lies” (rockin’ hard), “So Many Tears” (superb hard rocker), “Ran Out of Time” (mid-tempo harmonious melodic rock hymn), “Breathe” (brilliant moody tune), “Blood on the Line” (tremendous tuneful rocker), “Pray” (up-tempo rocker), “Only the Night” (very sensitive), “Live for Me” (dramatic tune indeed – what a solo), “Over You” (upbeat AOR tune), “Sanctuary” (the long epic song of the album – impressive guitar solo), “Save Me” (very passionate) and “Union of Souls” (definitely a positive song). The performances on the album are great… Steve’s has undoubtedly delivered some of his best solos, riffs and tunes in general and the songs arrangements are terrific as well. The production is kind of moody, clear and rockin’… maybe the best production of the band ever. This album is highly recommended to all the fans of hard rock & melodic rock/AOR music.
PS: As many of you are aware, Steve Harris passed away a few weeks after the release of this album… the tenth (if I’m right) studio album (which is simply black with the band’s logo on it) and the homonymous one… it was meant to be Shy’s last work. It’s surely one of the best works of the band – even though Lee Small is the singer here and some die-hard fans of the band may not like that. “Shy” needs more listens to be part of its atmosphere and to get used of the new vocalist, but believe me in the end, it will assuredly satisfy you. Do not miss this album even by writing these words I’m somehow emotionally overloaded, but this doesn’t mean that this is not a great album. I can’t imagine a single fan of the band not to have already taken this album…