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Friday, August 12, 2011

Shayna & The Catch - Lighthouse

Shayna & The Catch - Lighthouse
2011, Shayna & The Catch

Shayna & The Catch seems to be on the sort of slow, steady rise that one day breeds seemingly overnight success.  After catapulting into national awareness in a Ford commercial in 2010, Shayna & The Catch have gone on to reap the sort of attention and critical appreciation that should turn them into stars.  Shayna Zaid has been there before; a television star in her native Malaysia before coming to the United States; Zaid is perfectly at home on the stage or in the studio.  With a musky voice that avails itself equally well to jazz, folk, blues or pop, Zaid lights up the stage whenever she sings.  Shayna & The Catch even scored the 2010 Song Of The Year on Wildy’s World with their joyous anthem “Fireflies”.  Not ones to sit still, however, Shayna & The Catch return in 2011 with their full length debut album, Lighthouse.

Lighthouse opens with "Talk", a catchy country-tinged folk/rocker that you simply won't be able to get out of your head.  Shayna's wonderfully textured voice is a treat, as always, and The Catch is the perfect complement to her quirky/sexy sound.  "Lighthouse" explores the difficulty that those who are the rock for everyone else can have in letting themselves go.  The song is an invitation, delivered in an active folk/rock arrangement decorated with gypsy violin runs ala Stephane Grappelli.  The melody here is a standout, and "Lighthouse" has real hit potential, although it's uncertain what commercial demographic it might fit into.  Shayna & The Catch reprise "Morning Sun", which entered the national spotlight in 2010 in a Ford Edge television commercial.  The Lighthouse take is a bit more organic in sound, browning down the smooth pop edges for a warmer take.

"Pinched" is an edgy, acoustic rocker featuring the band's trademark Grappelli-style violin work.  The frenetic flavor of this tune will keep you on your toes; there's no way to sit still in spite of the dark sound.  The song is a true "Wow" moment.  "New York Love" opens in simple fashion, rhythmic notes repeated on guitar with a simple beat.  Violin gives the arrangement texture, and serves as a counter to Zaid's impassioned and compelling vocal.  The song is an ode to New York City; full of the power of real emotion.  "Ships" explores the after-effects of a failed romance with an almost stream of conscious lyrical style.  The busy acoustic arrangement can't hide a discreetly lovely melody, and the chorus is outright brilliant.

"Handshake" is an intriguing album track, catchy, with a reserved pop sensibility that will keep pulling you back.  The song grows on you with time, but may not make a big impression on first blush.  "It's You" gets second life on Lighthouse, in a beautiful rendition that is more fluid and fuller than the original.  This is a great love song, and Shayna & The Catch has made it even better the second time around.  "Taking Chances" has an island feel, sketched out in acoustic folk instrumentation to create a compelling listen.  Building for the future is the theme here, buoyed on a melody that you'll find yourself humming along to.  "Open Your Heart" is a mid-tempo acoustic rocker about creating a better world.  The catchy chorus has an almost disco beat to it, and you could picture this song going electric and having pop sensation potential.  The formal closing track is "Blue Waltz", which ironically spends its first two minutes in 4/4 time.  It's a solid, emotive song of melancholy that resolves into a lyric waltz.  Lighthouse also has two unlisted tracks; the first more of a study in undulating voice and instrumentation.  The second, which might be called "If You Need Me", is a stripped down song of love that is compelling in its simple power.  Shayna Zaid's voice shines in this contemplative moment; a brilliant afterthought.

Shayna & The Catch show a distinctive talent for crafting folk/rock arrangements with distinctive pop sensibility on Lighthouse, a tendency noted in the past.  The band has raised the collective bar this time around, however, offering a full-length collection of material that should include several potential hits.  While Shayna & The Catch don't match up well to the pre-packaged slots that are commercial radio in 2011, there is a universal appeal to the sound on Lighthouse that should ensure Shayna & The Catch continued exposure over the next year or so.  Many bands get a big break (like a national commercial placement), and fumble the next step.  Shayna & The Catch didn't fumble; they took a shot at the end zone.  And it's good.  Lighthouse is a winner.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Shayna & The Catch at or  Lighthouse was released independently in March, 2011, according to some sources, but is impossible to find.  Zaid's website indicates an October, 2011 release date.

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