Shiner Starless

On album number three, Midwest rock maulers Shiner clean up their act by scrapping the lo-fi dirge and replacing it with a less cacophonous brand of guitar rock. Although vocalist/chief songwriter/sole surviving member Allen Epley certainly hasn't gone soft, it's obvious he's interested in making music that's a little less challenging to his audience. There are hummable melodies a plenty and keyboard punctuation throughout. But you can't teach a new dog new tricks and since old habits die-hard, there's still enough drop-tuned dissonance and monster grooves to keep the music from becoming filled with tired clichés. Only on "The Arrangement" does Epley and company head in a truly mellow direction, but even then, it's just long enough to throw you off. (Owned and Operated)