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"Splay" Review
Author: Unknown (CMJ Music Report)
Date: Unknown

We're pleased to announce that former CMJ Futures pick Shiner handily lives up to its promise on its first full-length record. With a couple of interim singles, the band began minimizing the previously overwhelming presence of its biggest influences (most notably Husker Du) into keen sources of inspiration instead of defining forces; while Splay still features some of those familiar vocal techniques, the band has loosened up its playing style with great success. Songs like "Complaint" rely on Shiner's uncanny rhythmical sense, creating a catchy, stick-to-your-ribs melody in its rolling and rumbling that's more intuitive than a calculated guitar line. Splay's varied songwriting and roller-coaster arrangements offer as good an introduction to the band as anything, proving that Shiner can shift from a triumphant rock anthem ("HeShe") to the melodic molasses of "Martyr" to the emotional tug-of-war of "Bended Knee" with easy aplomb. A great package deal, but we'll put our money on the aforementioned, "Brooks" and "Released."

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