Texas Is On Fire - Shine. Set. Repeat. - Crash Music, Inc. 2005
Running Time: 25:50
Do you know how badly I wanted to tear this CD a new rectal exit? Do you really, really know? Trust me, you don't. I don't know who pissed in my Frosted Flakes the morning of the day I picked up Shine. Set. Repeat., but the last thing I wanted to hear was some band of post-adolescent hip-hugger-wearing emo kids do a half-ass Dillinger impersonation. So, literary AK-47 loaded, I kicked down the front door of Texas Is On Fire...
Nimble guitar runs begin 'Tomahawk!', TIOF (What?! You thought I was typing all that out every time?) wasting no time diving into the breakdown, as so many bands are wont to do. The difference here is that TIOF is smart enough to realize that they've arrived on the tail end of this nu-core scene, and know that tight pants and fucked up haircuts aren't enough to guarantee success. To this end, TIOF pepper their music with everything from power metal gallop to well-played hardcore, never being instantly peggable as one genre or the other. Sure, they're going to rightfully get lumped in with the current wave of craptastic bands who would've played Hellfest last year, but TIOF offer a slightly different take on things, and it works to their advantage. Gavin (Isn't there always a Gavin, Ian, or Corey?) has a workable, raspy delivery, but needs to work on pushing out that extra few ounces of phlegm to make his vocals really bite. As it is, it simply fits the music, but with work, the vocals could become a focal point for TIOF. One thing the band has a knack for is tossing in the unexpected, the best example being found in 'You're So Going To Hell For That One'. A loping - almost lazy - breakdown gets steamrolled at the 1:30 mark by a neo-power metal gallop, which then is bitchslapped about twice in the twenty seconds it lasts by rapid-fire blasts from Brandon Loyche. Just listen, you'll see what I mean. There's really no low end to alot of Shine. Set. Repeat., though, not counting the plentiful breakdowns, and even then the bass sound is somewhat muddy. 'Paint It On Black' comes across as thrown together, until the last few moments, where the band finally locks onto a decent rhythm, and hangs with it until song's end. Really, though, they could've stuck that groove anywhere, and ditched the rest of the song. I'm not sure who's doing the deathstyle growls here, but I'm assuming it's not Gavin. At any rate, while mostly overused and emasculated in this style of music, this time around, they provide a decent counterpoint to Gavin's higher-pitched vocals, most notably in album closer, the brilliantly-titled 'No Guys, This Is Epic'. As if knowing this was their last chance to make a good first impression, TIOF throw all their better elements into the mix, creating the best song on Shine. Set. Repeat., hands down and floorpunching.
While far from groundbreaking, you'd be very amiss in looking at TIOF as bandwagon-jumpers. Their youth will work to their advantage, I think, and within another album or so (if they make it that long), this Colorado five-piece could be on their way. For now, though, I can safely recommend Shine. Set. Repeat. as an album you can buy for that kid across the street, so he'll stop annoying you with utter crap like As I Lay Dying or Hawthorne Heights. Not my thing, but I wouldn't make fun of you for liking it.