Written by Maria Arroyo
After 19 years, hard rock band, Shiner, is sharing their newest release, Schadenfreude. The band began in 1992 and signed to DeSoto Records where they toured everywhere from across the states to Europe and Japan. Shiner is described as “carving a path of their own with a dedication to song-craft and musicianship wrapped in darkly sugared hooks.”
While they re-released their first album The Egg in 2012, this will be their newest release since. What made them resurface? When the band started back up in 2018, the band decided they were “not quite finished”, that “there was another life for Shiner they could not ignore.”
“In the End” hits us hard over the head with this hard grunge/rock sound, which leads its way to an enticing instrumental solo. Shiner shares that this song is their version of the world-is-ending. “Life is so hard, we all die alone, but I’ve got you and that makes all the difference.’ While their sound works for them, it became apparent throughout the song that the ability to hear the individual instrument tracks would be difficult. Everything, sonically speaking, seemed to sit in the same space, so the sound started to muddy up in the middle.
A huge highlight for this album is “Life as a Mannequin.” It had a sense of being very sexually-driven in both the psychedelic, melodic tones, and the trance-like appeal that came with it. I loved the buildup they created from a softer sound to a more powerful and harder sound. It gave me something to look forward to, something to get excited for. Shiner says that this first single “pushes the narrative of ending your suffering by giving in to your worst tendencies that are bad for you but at the same time feel so good.”
On “Genuflect,” the track “examines dysfunctional relationships and the reasons people enter and stay in them.” While not a favorite in a musical sense, I do love the idea to attack this theme head-on, because it is prevalent in today’s society.
Another favorite is “Low Hanging Fruit” because of the feel alone. It’s something relatable for listeners and I think one that resonates pretty well with me.
“Paul P Pogh” is an enjoyable one from the inspiration alone. “The name ‘Paul P Pogh’ was the name I chose for my fake ID when I was in high school for buying beers at liquor stores in Louisville, which surprisingly worked. It seemed appropriate for this song about ‘casting nets out to the liquor signs’ and a life spent chasing addiction.”
“O Captain” is the closing song where they highlight their ability to soften things up. I love the drop/fade-out for the end of the album. It’s interesting they left the silence at the end for a good 15-20 seconds, but I think the idea was to completely settle down from their album, let the ending smooth things over as long as possible.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed the lyrical content more than anything. Josh Newton (guitarist) shares that “a lot of themes on the album are pretty dark but always with a silver lining around the edges. The title itself is a commentary on the most common human trait of enjoying your rivals’ demise. Or your apparent enemies.”
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