Two minutes into "Queen of Sonoma," the lead-off track on Shiny Around The Edges' Denton's Dreaming, frontman Michael Seman sings, "I know where to put the knife in." It's fitting: He and his bandmates, Kerm Rivas and wife, Jennifer Seman, spend the next eight tracks riding between beauty and dissonance on the edge of that jagged blade. Pop music this ain't.
Shiny Around The Edges is not an easy band. Denton's Dreaming, the band's latest release, is nine tracks of some of the more harrowing music released this year. It may have taken its cue from some pretty beloved acts, like The Velvet Underground and Bauhaus, but mere references are pushed aside to integrate those bands' most abrasive elements. This album is full of pounding drums, alternately droning and screaming guitars and monotone vocals that scratch away the typical song structure and leave only its shimmering ghost behind.
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That isn't to say there aren't moments of beauty, however awkward they may be. The simple piano and whispered vocals of "30 Million" and "Slow Rustling Trees" offer a brief respite from the album's sonic assault, but not its mood. The lesson: Beauty exists amid chaos—both on this album and in the world it inhabits.