The Shears Have Another New EP

This Saturday, the Shears will be celebrating the release of a new EP that comes out a mere nine months after their original self-titled debut EP. The titles of each release tell you all you need to know about their respective contents. 2011’s EP was modestly titled The Shears, and thus seemed mostly interested in defining the group’s identity. There was the guitar-driven “Don’t Need Your Love,” and the piano-based ballad “Giving Up” amidst the dance-pop of “Defibrillator” and “Air Balloon.” Though it was a promising record, they were still searching out their sound.

The new EP, however, is called Up We Go. The phrase is a play on the hook of “Air Balloon” – “Up you go / my little air balloon.” In the song, it’s an indictment of the subject’s inflated ego. As an album title, though, it shows a group operating with the utmost confidence, knowing that their star is on the rise. Everything about this release indicates the band has found the sound and production that distills their songs into synth-dance-pop perfection. The guitars are used more texturally, the mid-tempo numbers have more power to them, and lead singer Inne Aguilar continues to develop confidence in her Debbie Harry/Karen O-esque vocal delivery.

The Shears - '123'

The re-recorded version of “Air Balloon” is like a microcosm of this change. In the version on Up We Go, there are no major structural differences. Instead, the production is crisper (you can hear each instrument much more clearly), the synth is pulled more to the front of the mix, and Aguilar finds an even greater dynamic range. Though the original version of the song was good enough to make our top 10 Austin songs of 2011, we had no idea how good it could be.

It also helps that the rest of the EP consists of a handful of great new tunes. On “Puppet” and “123,” in particular, the Shears match “oh-oh-oh” choruses with melodic hooks and irrepressible dance beats. Up We Go is like mainlining vodka/Red Bulls for sixteen and a half minutes; you just feel energized and a little bit lightheaded by the end. I’ve always expected big things for this band, and this EP sounds like the blueprint for their inevitable success.

You can grab this EP and catch their live set at the Beauty Bar on Saturday, alongside Zeale, Sphynx and Prom Date.

– Carter