In a few short years, Shayna Rain and her assorted group of ruffians have gone from hometown lounge band, to hometown darlings, to incredible band… period. Their follow up to their much admired debut EP is Paper Flowers in which they neglect your expectations to instead focus on song writing, growth and their own comfort; all of which they deliver in a tasty, yet sonically cohesive soundtrack. Paper Flowers is the culmination of the band you think you know proving to everybody that, not only are you not as familiar with them as you thought you were, but that they have absolutely no problem admitting that they WANT to keep learning more about themselves.
On Shayna Rain’s new EP, the Vegas-based four-piece finds itself on new legs with smoky electro-pop at its foundation. A sharp turn from the outfit’s previously bluesy sound, Paper Flowers finds the group—no longer called Shayna Rain and the Part Time Models—at its most powerful and evocative yet.
Singer Shayna Mercer’s sentimental perspective serves as the focal point, with her frosty vocals front and center on the four-song EP. And while the new direction feels organic, Shayna Rain’s new sound was born partly of necessity. “[Bassist] Nick [Boswell] was on tour, and we had to do a benefit show,” Mercer says. [Drummer and producer Steven] Zeller has a project called Dawnr, and he makes electronic music. I have a bunch of solo stuff, so he [was] like, ‘Why don’t we just try to put electronic stuff to your solo stuff?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ve always wanted to do this.’”
Written and recorded at Naked City Audio over four months, the EP shows a new level of connectedness within the band. Between Zeller’s downtempo electronics and Mercer’s opaque musings on passion, love and loss, Shayna Rain gradually bares its teeth. From featherlight opener “Hope” to the Warpaint-esque “Before My Body,” Paper Flowers is intricate and powerfully relatable.
It also has a dynamic visual component. “We’re really focusing a lot on art and making sure we don’t neglect that,” Mercer says, who enlisted four local artists—Victoria Fong, Albert Montoya, Alex Hobbs and Auberi Zwickel—to create posters, each a companion to a song on the EP.
-Leslie Ventura, Las Vegas Weekly
Shayna Rain is an indie-rock band from Las Vegas. They take elements from indie rock and downtempo, combined with haunting vocals, to create a unique music experience that gets under your skin. Their music is influenced by artists like Porishead, Chelsea Wolfe, and Brand New. Shayna Rain (formerly Shayna Rain and The Part Time Models) signed with GC Records and released a full length LP in June of 2015 followed by an EP in 2016; they toured extensively stateside and internationally to promote the releases. After receiving positive accolades from the press and honing their sound on the road, the band continues their successful output with their latest EP, ‘Paper Flowers.’
The first track on’ Paper Flowers’ is the song “Hope.” The song starts off with a brief intro that sends chills up your spine. The intro features entrancing chord patterns with spacey effects before leading into the first verse. At the start of the first verse, the bass and drum beat kick-in like a heartbeat along with Shayna’s vocals making a haunting entrance. Immediately, the vocals are captivating. Shayna’s vocal character is mesmerizing. The utilization of vocal harmonies is a nice addition to the simple production and makes for a unique arrangement that differentiates Shayna Rain’s sound from other indie artists. The main chorus delivers with subtle gut and raw emotion, “Baby please don’t give up on me. Don’t give up on me.” The overall theme is about getting love back to what it once was and second chances. “I just wanna be in sight again. I just wanna be what’s right again.” The song has an usual percussive outro showing the band’s alternative flare.
Next on the EP is “Before My Body.” This song kicks up the tempo a bit with a heavier rock edge. The song starts off with a guitar lick accompanied by a drum beat – the first word begins immediately. Though this song has a heavier edge, it still maintains the “chill” vibe that is their signature sound. You can feel the yearning behind the lyrics through the intense vocal interpretation.”Before my body hits the water I wanted to fly. Before my body hits the water I wanted to see your face. Before my body hits the water I wanted to hear your laugh. Before my body hits the water I imagined the life I could’ve had.” Laced with tasteful lead guitar solos and riffs throughout, the song is well composed. The ending, which leaves a lasting impression, is sung a’Capella as Shayna sings, “I wanted to fly.”
The title track is up next: “Paper Flowers.” The song starts off with ambient sounds that gradually build and fade away leading to the entry of the vocals. The vocals enter with stunning harmonies singing a’ Capella until the reentry of the ambient sounds fade back in and the beat drops. This beautiful introduction will you breathless. “Paper flowers remind me of you. The way that they bloom Sun flowers remind me of you. The way that they bloom.” The production continues with a funky groove that captivates as the group lays out a beautiful soundscape for the musical flowers to bloom. The addition of horns and jazzy Vocales give this track a gorgeous sound. “Paper Flowers” is an outstanding track with top notch production and it is no surprise that it earned the title track. Bringing the EP to a close is the song “My Head.” This song acts as a great outro for the EP. With a dark guitar loop that gradually builds throughout the track, Shayna chants the phrase “ooo my head.” With each round of the chant the song gets progressively bigger and bigger until it reaches a full rocking frenzy. “My Head” is a chilling track that shifts the mood from the last song and does well to wrap up the entirety of the EP.
“Paper Flowers” is truly a work of art that offers something intangible – beauty in all it’s forms. Shayna Rain has created a unique soundscape where their music, nourished with poetry, advanced composition, artistic musicianship and gorgeous vocals, creating a music garden in full bloom, can leave you breathless one minute and exhilarated the next. There is something haunting and mesmerizing, unpredictable and surprising that will have you returning to this album over and over. “Paper Flowers” is both intricate and relatable making it an EP that will capture a large audiences while still pleasing fans of alternative music.