SHINY MAMA – What Comes Around Goes Around

SHINY MAMA - What Comes Around Goes Around


Release date: October 31, 2005

User Review
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Does anyone remember that Top-40 novelty song by Aqua that went: “I’m a Barbie girl in the Barbie world / Life in plastic, it’s fantastic”? Well, in this “Barbie world” full of Pop-star bimbettes barely out of diapers, who pop off the commercial-music marketing assembly line shaking their silicone for all it’s worth in front of arena-fuls of plastic-headed kiddies, Shiny Mama is a godsend for those who like a little — or a lot of — talent with their titillation.

Shiny Mama is, in essence, Yana Chupenko, the best thing since Blondie’s Debbie Harry. Yana’s parents couldn’t afford to buy her even a Barbie Doll when they came to the United States from the Ukraine in 1976. The three of them fled to New York from Kiev to escape the persecution of Yana’s father, once a prominent soccer coach, due to his lack of membership in the Communist Party and his “intermixed” marriage with his Jewish wife.

Yana began to develop her singing abilities by taking lessons as a child, first in Russia and then in the United States. At age 15, she found her cultural niche in the Punk Rock scene. The Ramones and Bad Brains were big influences, and in 1984 Yana formed PMS — whoa, that’s Pre-Metal Syndrome, an all-girl Punk band that opened for Bad Brains on the Lower East Side of New York. In 1987, she started Wench, another girl band, but this time the style was, you guessed it, Heavy Metal.

Make no mistake, Yana does like to play with boys, and she does it well on What Comes Around Goes Around, Shiny Mama’s second release. Firmly rooted in straight-ahead Rock, WCAGA features nine cuts, with a total of as many musicians to support Yana’s vocals. It’s a good “date” album, i.e., an album that rocks and that one can play in the car without fear of alienating the other person with something too heavy or too soft. Put away the Cannibal Corpse or the Zamfir, Shiny Mama is what you want on a first date. Guys might even score extra points for spinning a chick singer.

Yana’s voice is gutsy and glorious, fierce and feminine. The most immediate similarity is to Debbie Harry’s melodic feel, as on “Little Angel,” for example. Fans of the Cult’s Ian Astbury’s vocal style will appreciate Yana’s treatment on “Honeybear,” “I Love You,” and “Sleazy.” On “Evil Lover,” her power and Blues phrasing have a touch of the late Ray Gillan (Badlands). The cover of “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” would make Ronnie James Dio proud. Yana’s vibrato really shines throughout the album.

In addition to Yana on vocals, some of the musicians who performed on the album are: Noel Rockwood (Snapdragons); Jonny Cragg (Spacehog); Carlla Olla (Blondie); Chip English (Lunachicks). Michael Denarie, who plays bass and contributes backup vocals on the album, is a recent addition to the band’s current lineup.

The album would have benefited from better production quality. The overall sound lacks dynamics and presence. Perhaps that aspect is due to a limited budget (?). Nevertheless, the performance of all the musicians is very solid … just re-EQ your system.

What Comes Around Goes Around is highly recommended to anyone who’s tired of all the Pop-trash girl singers without substance. There is nothing more potent than Shiny Mama for a real woman and a real band that rocks.


  • Jason Sagall

    Jason was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He was born in Illinois and currently reside in California, USA, where he works in the field of Information Technology, and is a freelance web consultant His favorite Rock and Metal subgenres include Classic, Progressive, and Power. He is a guitar fanatic and listen to a lot of Instrumental Rock and Fusion. Jason has been playing guitar as a hobby for some 25 years.  

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