SHAY - "Dreamers and Stalkers" (Self-released 2001, CD-R)
From Aural Innovations #18 (January 2002)
What a breath of fresh sound. Shay is a trio from England who have self-released their first album, though it was recorded at Stone Premonitions label's Stone Studio. The rhythm section of Steve Robson and Vic Warrington is solid while the star is vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Finn Millar, whose lovely and overtly-feminine voice carries all these great tunes and words. There are hints of the gothic and perhaps even some '80s New Wave present, but the group's roots lie as much in the poppier end of British psyche as well. Spacey, but rarely overtly so, and never intrusive, this is good music to relax to, though the songs are short and generally catchy. "You Make Me Strange" has a chorus that really grabs you with it's dreamy, Doors-ish quality, while its simple keyboard lines soar in and out through the verses. "The Red Earth" has lightly-funky rhythms but really comes alive in the magical chorus of Finn's round-ish multi-tracked vocals. Finn's guitar-playing is more than competent and I can't think of any word better than "ethereal" to describe it. Perhaps the best track here is "Conversation in the Cathedral", whose chorus is the most heavenly imaginable, where Finn's dreaming multi-tracked vocals intertwine to become one with the unearthly, liltingly-warm keyboards. "Hello the Shore" is appropriately fluid with more funky bass and creepy keys wobbling across the water, though the soft straight-ahead rock beat is present as ever. "Far and Wide" reaches symphonic heights with its chorus and the British-themed "A Line of Trees" closes the album in a sad but equally inspiring fade. This is something very special.
For more information ontact Shay c/o Pelican House, Church Row, Crawleyside, Stanhope, Co. Durham,
DL13 2DY. Phone: (01388) 527 942.
Email the band c/o Stone Premonitions at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg