Orlando hometown heroes Shyster have put out a second CD, a follow-up to Say Uncle on Offtime records. “About time,” I say. Listen to this CD and you will probably agree. The new CD on Man’s Ruin has five new songs, and two that were previously released on the band’s first tape-only release.
The opener is one of my live favorites, “Tongue To Toe.” This song always did a lot for me in a live setting, and delivers the goods quite well recorded. Mike’s vocals have never sounded quite so intense as on this song, and the outro is lengthy but keeps the intensity of the song right up to the rather abrupt ending. Next up is “Visitation Hour,” an ode to a relative absorbed in alcohol. The obviously personal matter makes the song that much more emotionally charged. Next up is the title track, fully titled “February (It Happens Every Year).” This coupled with “Feeling Incomplete” keep the CD moving right through the middle. Next up are the two older songs. I must admit these are sentimental favorites for me. They take me back to days of watching Shyster play at Club Nowhere, when the crowd always sang along to “Disappoint,” and the band always closed with “Down.” These two songs stand up fairly well to the new material, but you can definitely see the maturity in the new songs. The final song is the somewhat aptly named “27 Seconds” (actual song time: 32 seconds) which many bands would make into a joke, but Shyster has the class to pull off.
My only disappointment (no joke intended) with this CD was the artwork, which was simplistic and didn’t seem to have much to do with the band or the songs on the CD. Oh well, Kozik’s artwork is usually amazing. I guess he can’t always hit the ball out of the park, so I’ll let him off this once. Man’s Ruin Records, 610 22nd Street #302, San Francisco, CA 94107