David Rizzo (vocals), Martin Stauffer (guitars), Keith Morey (guitars), Roy Scaturo (bass guitar) and John Garvey (drums) all live in or around hilly Ridgefield, Connecticut, where for the past two years, as the collective known as Catalina Shortwave, they have been creating, rehearsing and recording their music in a roomy log cabin-looking studio in the New England woods. Their first release, 2014’s lo-fi “Repeater”, was produced in a chilled basement on the barest of budgets. Now comes their second release, “Radio Voodoo: Songs from the Dark End of the Dial”, which brings together the pluses of professional production with the immediacy and honesty of the best of DIY.
Catalina Shortwave is one of those bands that continue to deliver some of the best pure rock music around, yet for some reason they still remain relatively unknown to the masses. From the blistering first riff, to the last note, this band blasts back in time to ignite the here and now – Rock ‘n Roll as it should be! Yep, Catalina Shortwave just kinda snuck out of Connecticut, from between the piles of mediocre-to-bad music being forced at us these days. Now they will wrap their big sounds around your head and have you believing that there is still a chance for a new classic rock-type sound revival.
I believe that this is one group that knows respects and acknowledges their influences, but doesn’t attempt to copy anyone. Instead they pick up where legendary groups before them left off and carry on the tradition of great sounding rock and roll with an edge! The musicianship, vocals, production values and sound on “Radio Voodoo: Songs from the Dark End of the Dial” are tremendous, and on a whole new level compared to their previous release. No doubt having experience and professionalism on the boards really helped make this album the fantastic, solid, straight ahead rock and roll masterpiece it is.
There’s something both new and familiar about Catalina Shortwave’s sound; these guys have written a very mature sounding album, full of great hooks, melodies and a monster wall of guitars. Early highlights for me include ‘Breakaway’, ‘Darkstar’ and the epic sounding ‘Blood Orange’, but you could pick this album up at any point and find a killer track. Production-wise, each song is nice and straightforward; you get drums, bass, guitars and vocals – and lots of them! David Rizzo has to be one of the most powerfully unique rock vocalists around right now. His phrasing and diction is phenomenal. Probably the only rock singer who allows you to understand each and every word he sings.
Lyrically, musically, and as a band they really rock. In today’s scene, it’s far and few between to see a band that’s a total package. But that’s what Catalina Shortwave have become. A lot of rock bands nowadays have somewhat of a depressing and violent tone in their music, but Catalina Shortwave just has a good time and lets the music flow with passion and great talent. They have created a superb rock album with “Radio Voodoo: Songs from the Dark End of the Dial”, which blends in different styles from bluesy to southern rock to soaring guitar. It is tailor-made for blasting to a packed arena. I hope they get the recognition they deserve with this release.