It mightn't be a bad thing at all to note the similarities between the purely titular aspects of 'Shayna & the Catch' and 'Katrina & the Wave' because there's enough in both to invite comparison, save that Shayna Zaid and crew possess markedly superior rhythmic and exotic appurtenances. Perhaps most emphatic is the 'up' nature of the bulk of much of the material in Lighthouse, even when a lot of it is pensive. Blue Line Highway also lands somewhat in the same ballpark in several respects, and if you're not minded to cleave to the putative pleasures of such saran wrap as, say, the Bangles and their odd brand of commercial happy-happy-joy-joy crap, then you know it's not easy to find 'up' music that's neither gratingly facile nor irritatingly vapid.
It may be that the CD's many snappily fresh elements invoke this aspect or perhaps the cool swing in almost all the tracks, maybe even the intriguing reliance on concertina, mandolin, ukelele, and the ever engaging violin work of Yan Izquerdo that provide such a perky atmosphere (a lot of David LaFlamme and Richard Greene in this guy)—and the lilting nature of Zaid's encantations certainly provides a heaping pitcherful of strong intro- and extrospection—but the result is highly engaging, perhaps best illustrated in the gypsy be-bop of Pinched, calling to mind Fishtank Ensemble and other bohemianly oriented groups. You just want to jump up from the dinner table and start boogying.
That cut also almost accidentally features Andrew Baird's electric guitar work, much too recessed, in an all-too-brief solo early in the tune, then segues beautifully into the hypnotically Romantic Big Apple Love, a song continually building on itself while showcasing Zaid's full interpretational and emotional powers. By the time it closes down, shivers are running up and down your spine. However, every cut on Lighthouse is a winner, all and sundry skillfully woven of a single flavor manifesting in subtly arresting variations and rebirths.
And this is their debut? Whoa!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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