Pop/Rock, Album Rock

Album Review

Tommy Shaw's first solo project outside of Styx was a rather accomplished one, although neither the critics nor the charts would say so. Only the title track, a witty pop effort fueled by its excitable keyboard boisterousness and Shaw's high-pitched vocal gust broke the Top 40, edging in at number 33. While the album only made it to number 50 on the charts, it enabled Shaw to perform for the first time without DeYoung's influence, drawing more attention to his style of guitar-infused rock with a punch. The songs on Girls With Guns are invigorating and guitar savvy, while even the ballads are a refreshing change from the mawkish love song gushiness (with "Babe" and "Don't Let It End" being prime examples) of Styx. Tracks such as "Come In and Explain" and "Outside in the Rain" are far from commonplace rock, thanks to the elevating keyboard work from Peter Wood and Shaw's colorful guitar riffs that never stop moving. "Lonely School" is a well-written ballad with direction, and both "Kiss Me Hello" and "Fading Away" unveil Shaw's creativity and tendency to add some texture to what would otherwise be the guitar rock norm. Much of what Tommy Shaw contributed to Styx since joining the band in 1976 crops up here -- a sleek guitar edge, crisp vocals, and a witty lyrical awareness, but the absence of Styx musicians and Dennis DeYoung's effusiveness can be felt to a certain extent.
Mike DeGagne, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Girls With Guns
  2. Come in and Explain
  3. Lonely School
  4. Heads Up
  5. Kiss Me, Hello [Extended Version]
  6. Fading Away
  7. Little Girl World
  8. Outside in the Rain [Extended Version]
  9. Free to Love You
  10. The Race Is On