Shiraz Lane: ‘Carnival Days’

SHIRAZ LANE
CARNIVAL DAYS
Released on February 23, 2018 (Frontiers Music Srl)

Review by Metal Mike on Feb. 3, 2018:
Shiraz Lane
have been a mainstay amongst Sleaze Roxx readers over the years.  The band’s first full length album received strong reviews, as did one of their earlier EPs back in 2015. This band from Vantaa, Finland points to Aerosmith and Guns N’ Roses as inspiration, but more frequently seems to represent Crashdïet or Hell In The Club as modern sounds. Ultimately, Shiraz Lane are a healthy mix of both.

I’ve been a fan of this band from the first time I discovered them via a Sleaze Roxx post way back when. As a huge fan of For Crying Out Loud, I was looking forward to this new release. I have to admit though, the first track “Carnival Days” caused a little confusion. The saxophone infused quazi singalong seemed out of character for a lead off track, and not a strong start to a hard rock album. I’ll take it as a one-off and move on. There are several tracks reminiscent of some great old Skid Row or Slik Toxik. “The Crown” for example has wild guitars. The chorus is something that is each for themselves, but I like it. “Harder To Breathe” is another strong offering.

After a few songs, I’m getting the feeling that Shiraz Lane are enjoying combining different influences and styles in order to create their own unique sound. Whether it’s Skid Row, The Offspring, Guns N’ Roses or whatever, they rock. The initial guitars on “Tidal Wave” grated on my nerves, but hell, it’s a good tune. Now, being no fan of hard rock bands going soft, “Gotta Be Real” is not bad. It’s a similar feel to the old L.A. Guns‘ “It’s Over Now” track, but different, including a bit of saxophone and a heavier interlude.

Coming off the softer side, “People Like Us” hammers back with powerful guitars, and a quirky piano background. The melodic “Shangri-La” highlights the high-end vocals of Hannes Kett, although parts of the chorus sound more like boy band than sleaze. All of that is immediately erased via “War Of Mine” which returns to proper hard rock territory. I have to say that the guitar/vocal mix on “Shot Of Life” are captivating me. This track is fantastic in its soaring vocals and very good guitar line.  Finally, “Reincarnation” starts slow, but has some really powerful work once you get into it a bit.

Shiraz Lane have been pretty consistent over the years Sleaze Roxx has covered them. For sure, For Crying Out Loud was an impressive album two years ago. Carnival Days isn’t quite as good, but everything is relative. It’s still a strong full-length sophomore effort that deserves to be heard.

Review by Todd Myers on Jan. 1, 2020:
I once had a friend tell me that one of the great things about music is that no matter what, there will always be songs, albums, and artists out there to discover. We will never max out our capacity to expand our musical palate. As part of that thought, we occasionally come across something that the moment we first hear it, we are awestruck and sit and wonder, “How have I never heard this before?” One such band to do just that to me is Finnish band Shiraz Lane. The band have been around for the better part of the past decade, releasing numerous singles, EPs, and a debut full-length album. 2018 brought the band’s sophomore album, Carnival Days. The hype train admittingly passed me by and it wasn’t until several months after its release when I was in the gym one day streaming music on my phone that the song “War of Mine” came on, which immediately struck a cord with me. I stopped what I was doing and headed to iTunes to check this band out. I scuffled through some sound bites and downloaded Carnival Days there on the spot. I still had no clue though, just what truly lay in store for me.

The opening track “Carnival Days” literally welcomes the listener to the album and the musical experience awaiting them. A catchy song with lyrics that sets a tone for some serious themes contained within much of Shiraz Lane’s songs, this fun sing-along dabbles in the blues and incorporates a saxophone. While good, this song acts like the blast capsule on the Space Shuttle. It gets us off the ground, but it isn’t until the second song “The Crown” that things really kick in and we are shot off into orbit. Released as a single, “The Crown” is an upbeat, dare I say motivational song about believing in yourself and never getting down or quitting. You can’t help but just feel good listening to this! “Harder to Breathe” with another video and single, is up third and kicks things up yet another notch. The fullness and richness in this album are just absurd and the musicianship is top notch.

“Tidal Wave” keeps the party going and anyone not diggin’ this and singing along needs to reevaluate your life. The sax from the title track returns as things slow down bit for “Gotta Be Real.” Another single, “People Are People,” which is a song about homelessness (yes, homelessness), turns the juice back on and we have reached the peak of big sing-along choruses. Wow! What a great song! The warm and positive vibes continue with the beautiful “Shangri-La.” The music makes you want to smile, and it is trippy how good it makes you feel. The aforementioned rocker “War of Mine” is next, followed by the eastern sounds of “Shot of Life” before that track also takes off featuring some killer guitar work. “Hope” is just a beautiful song full of… hope, and positivity. Rounding out the album is the epic eight minute “Reincarnation.” Wow! What an album!

It is so rare to randomly come across an album that just completely whacks you upside the head and leaves such a huge impression on you. This album is truly a masterpiece and so masterfully and meticulously constructed. The musicianship is excellent and the lyrical content, while serious in nature, is positive and uplifting. It really does warm your soul and leaves a smile on your face. It is motivational. While that may sound odd, often rock music of this genre can be a bit cliché. There is an originality and uniqueness here that really sets this album and this band apart from the rest of the pack. Having retroactively gone back and listened to earlier Shiraz Lane music, there is also a growth and maturity found within this album. There is not a dud on this album. From start to finish, it is near perfect. This album is hands down the best album of 2018. It is a ten out of ten, an A+, and I highly recommend that everyone stop whatever they are doing and give this album a listen right now.

Track List:
01. Carnival Days
02. The Crown
03. Harder To Breathe
04. Tidal Wave
05. Gotta Be Real
06. People Like Us
07. Shangri-La
08. War Of Mine
09. Shot Of Life
10. Hope
11. Reincarnation

Band Members:
Hannes Kett – lead vocals
Jani Laine – lead guitars
Miki Kalske – rhythm guitar
Joel Alex – bass
Ana Willman – drums

Band Websites:
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Reviewed by Metal Mike (in February 2018) and Todd Myers (in January 2020) for Sleaze Roxx

Shiraz Lane‘s “Harder To Breathe” video:

Shiraz Lane – “Harder To Breathe” (Official Music Video)

Subscribe To Be Alerted When We Add New Videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers / From the new album CARNIVAL DAYS.

Shiraz Lane‘s “People Like Us” video:

Shiraz Lane “People Like Us” (Official Music Video)

Subscribe To Be Alerted When We Add New Videos – http://radi.al/SubscribeFrontiers / From the new album CARNIVAL DAYS.