Shriner is a good guitarist who may have too many songwriting ideas, as he crams some together in incongruous ways and lets a few too many goofy ones through. An example of Predicament One is ?Paradox,? an amiably Spinanesy lilt until Shriner takes a hard right turn into Hendrixville. Not sure how that serves the song. We see Predicament Two on ?Polyamorous World,? ?(It?s) Your Spin,? and ?The Overcast Song,? in all of which Shriner commits various Smarty Pants Sins, like name-checking Menelaus. (This should be avoided unless one is trying to get in good with a sexy classics prof, but even then, please use caution.) Shriner?s label?s web site claims that some of these lyrics came to him in dreams, so maybe the overcleverness is not his conscious fault, but it?s hard to be moved by the music when your brain keeps going ?Ah. Yes, I get it.?
Shriner shines, though, when he buckles down and fashions fingerpicked gems (?Quayside?), gleaming rock instrumentals (?Smokestack Soliloquy?), or cyclical downbeat pop melodies (?Earl,? ?I Awoke?). He ably drapes the more propulsive moments in these songs with an appealing guitar sheen, even inching at times toward the full-on My Bloody Valentine method of tune eradication (?Static Speaker?). Good sonic instinct there that?s not always in evidence in the often very literal world of singer-songwriters. Shriner is clearly stuck on the literate pop humor thing, and it?s up to him whether to run with that, but the best of these songs show enough talent and ideas for a swell pop record whose cleverness soaks in gently, not pushed by syllables. 6/10 -- Sal Addays (24 October, 2005)