Sweet mandolin peals and determined percussion drive the
first track on Shayna Zaid’s second record. With her taffy-pull vocals (a
cousin to Elana James’s, with more range and depth) and a warm, up-front mix,
“Talk” is delectable enough for a Halloween treat bag. The laid-back,
reggae-nuanced beat of the second, title track gives Zaid more room to emote
and converse with Yan Izquierdo’s violin lines. Zaid’s so engaged with the
Catch, which shares songwriting duties; I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that
the whole gang’s furrowed collective brows over the concept of vocals and
instruments sharing narrative roles.
warm and engaging, although some of the song structures tend to be just a
little too textbook – even when the group changes it up with calypso (“Taking
Chances”) and swing (“Pinched”). But several tracks rate raves, as with
“Ships,” a country-folk hoedown graced by Zaid’s subtle R&B intonations,
and with the irresistible changes of that calypso number.
It’s a pity the chops and dynamics these folks have to burn
aren’t the flavor de jour, these days. This is the sort of American roots
fodder that could serve a Democratic or Green Party inauguration, and
innumerable film soundtracks. If this delightful set gets Shayna and her posse
set up for such “placements,” one more thing will be right with the world.
“Ships,” “Lighthouse,” “Open Your Heart,” “Taking Chances” MARY LEARY