Primary URL: http://www.catalinashortwave.com/
From Connecticut comes rockers Catalina Shortwave who just released their latest CD entitled “Repeater” in 2014 (Spectra Records). SC Marty Stauffer – Guitar, Dave Rizzo – Vocals, Brent Morton – Guitar, John Garvey – Drums. So I guess they have 2 guitarist and no bass player? OK?
Right from the start of Track 1 “Don’t Never Take Your Love Away” it might be easy to just categorize these 4 as a straight ahead “dime a dozen” throw back rockers and write them off as the newest trending band around the east coast. It wouldn’t be wise, though. Sure, if you listen to some of the catchier moments within this 14 song CD: that’s the impression you would likely get. However there is a method to their madness. There are some really well crafted, good songs on “Repeater”. This 14 Track offering dares to step outside the modern rock music boundaries and go towards Soul/Rock/R&B and even Funkadelick Rock. As a vocalist Rizzo is not afraid to color outside the lines musically and bare his true soul to the world. Some of the lyrics are powerful and I believe he believes every word he sings. Of course much of this goes against the grain of modern day rock with many feel has lost its way by leaving its soul at the studio door in an attempt to please the corporate music world. As a result Rizzo’s amazing singing coupled with the bands solid writing style really opens up the CD emotionally. This enhances the listening experience rather than limit it for me. So there’s really not a lot about this band that’s “dime a dozen” is there.
Zeroing in on their sound these 4 are obviously experienced at performing and writing music, but they need a producer to help them refine and present their sound a bit better. A Producer outside the band that can give them better checks and balances. I hate to use the word “Garage Band Sound” but that’s the impression I get from this CD. Unfortunately how the music is delivered (speaker to ear) is just as critical as the writing and performances. This major-major-major blemish makes these latest 14 songs stand out in a bad way from other artists and bands at the pro level.
Now that’s that paragraph is out of the way – we take a lot for granted between the lines and notes and although some would claim there’s nothing here that hasn’t been said or done before – if you listen to the songs carefully the devil is in the songwriting details. Perhaps that is why “Catalina Shortwave” is on our radar screens in the first place. Bottom line is these guys make it all look too easy. Forgive me if I’m talking in circles – but some bands and artists can deliver music that’s pretty straight forward, conservative and painfully simple. Yet brilliant in scope. Furthermore in lieu of the amazing string of songs on ‘Repeater” deliver on this fully loaded 13 track record it almost feels as if they are really on to something – well special. I hate to pigeonhole but I can hear Pearl Jam
Shawn Mullins, Sister Hazel, UFO, Led Zeppelin and Glen Hughes. At the end of the day Catalina Shortwave will please a wide range of musical personalities in the process of their “raw” exposure.
Review by Sean Graves