Review: Shy Kids Quirky New Visual Album “in a state”

Matthew Paterson
Staff Writer

A_E, 2_21, shy kids album review, matt paterson, PC_ Courtesy of The Syndicate.jpg

Courtesy of The Syndicate

“In a state,” the most recent album from the Toronto based indie-pop band Shy Kids is set to release Feb. 23. This album follows their 2015 release “Loftly!” which was met with praise from critics.

Since their formation in 2010, they have been actively putting out videos and music, and working for a plethora of companies such as Vice, MTV, Red Hour and Snapchat to name a few. The group is comprised of Walter Goodman, Patrick Cederberg, Matthew Hornick and Greg Francis; each one of them are multifaceted when it comes to what they put out, not only do they make music, but they also have their sights set on filmmaking. They have released a number of shorts on YouTube and even won Best Short Film at the Toronto International Film Festival for their movie “Noah” in 2015. That also got the attention of The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Gawker among others.

After gaining notoriety with companies such as MTV and releasing their first album, they were given an opportunity to, just like The Beatles – come to America. Their dreams were soon shaken by reality and instead of falling into a pit of despair, they began writing. Every time they felt themselves in a state they wrote it down. This is how “in a state” was born.

“In a state” combines Shy Kids love of movies and music, the entire album is accompanied by a trippy visual album that encapsulates the feeling of every song, each in its own unique way, yet it maintains a connection between each video. Some are completely animated while others are live action, some even combine a Van Gough inspired look to it. The entire 25-minute visual buffet brings viewers on that initial journey through America with them. In the video for “the middle,” they shot it at Markham Fair in Canada, they took videos of cute farm animals and edited it, so they moved with the rhythm of the song. They go from New York, to the Middle of LA and Hawaii. Shy Kids even have an aptly titled track “(everywhere else)” that is just an interlude but covers the places they didn’t get to.

Although the album is relatively short, each song is intricately put together, even enlisting the help of an orchestra to bring their visions to life. The song names tell you the setting, their lyrics give you the mental, physical and spiritual state they were in at the time.

One of their singles “i was in New York” is a wonderful example of this. The entire song brings you on a journey of the highs and lows of living in the city when you come from a town no one knows. The song speaks of wanting to return home, but listeners are left with the last few lines, “maybe I’ll stay, maybe I’ll stay…” It has a bluesy vibe to it, almost like it was a Frank Sinatra number adapted into an indie song. They also made use of a choir, ala Kanye, that angelically backs up some lyrics and adding a fantastical feel.

Then in “i was in LA” there is a drastically different vibe. It’s almost like a musical with an overbearing amount of happiness and joy that bombards you, just like the overwhelming sense people get when in LA.

For Shy Kids, this is just the beginning, and it’s safe to say, Feb. 23 will be a good day in Toronto. If you’re interested in any of their other work you can check out their YouTube page that is full of shorts they’ve done, and of course, their previous albums.

Categories: A & E, Arts & Entertainment, Reviews

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