By Poppy Tohill
Released December 5th, 2013
Being a fan since 2012, with the release of her first single ‘Broken Hearts', I highly doubt I am the only one who has been patiently waiting for the release of a debut album from the Christchurch rising star, Shayna King.
Well, if you didn't know already... I am pleased to be the one to tell you that the wait is now over and it was worth every second.
Prior to the release of King's album ‘The Day Is Young' in 2013, August 2012 saw the release of her first single ‘Broken Hearts' which placed second overall in the New Zealand Unreleased Chart in September 2012. Album title track ‘The Day Is Young' debuted at number 6 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter Chart and was recently nominated for a 2014 Taite Music Prize. ‘The Day Is Young' track was also selected as a semi-finalist in the 2013 International Unsigned Only Songwriting Competition.
Bearing all that in mind, you gain a fair idea that her album must be pretty good, which indeed it is.
Featuring nine original contemporary songs, which beautifully showcase her lyrical and melodic creativity, accompanied by her exceptional smooth and warm-toned vocals, ‘The Day Is Young,' is a remarkable debut release from an emerging artist.
The title and opening track, The Day Is Young, features a melancholic guitar rhythm, before it opens up into a full band complete with polished backing vocals which intertwine and reinforce the smooth melodic vocals of King creating a warm, feel-good sense of emotion.
This is followed by debut single ‘Broken Hearts' which I've got to admit is probably still my favourite track on the entire album. The single begins instrumentally with a soothing acoustic guitar rhythm as King's soft and sweet melodic vocals merge with the rhythm before the full band come in adding an ambience to this song, which is reinforced by the sentimental lyrics and melody of this heart-wrenching tune.
The country inspired ‘Come To Me' sounds like an upbeat version of ‘Hallelujah' in terms of the opening guitar picking rhythm. The harmonies and textures throughout the chorus in particular are pretty, delicate and very sweet.
The instrumentation from the guitars and drums which explode into the chorus of ‘Swept Away' completely make this song, providing the perfect background for this rocky, pop-tastic tune. Displaying a different personality and vocal style to King, as her tone proves more raunchy and raw, rather than the sweet- natured tracks which we have grown used to so far.
Conveying a similar instrumental sentiment throughout the next track ‘Wanted.' King's vocals are less raunchy than the previous tune, but again we are exposed to the interesting range of her beautiful voice and vocal ability. This pop tinged tune features another magnificent guitar solo that perfectly reflects the tone of the track and the message of being ready to let go and move on.
Not just producing an album filled with good foot-tapping pop tunes and heart-warming ballads, King also delivers a bluesy pop number in the form of ‘Heart Of Blues.'
It stands out with a point of difference from the rest of the tracks on the album, but that is what makes it so brilliant and in my opinion, is the best track of the entire album. The punchy drum driven baseline and instrumentation throughout this track is the best you hear from the band throughout the album. Providing the perfect vibe for King's exceptional raw, bluesy vocals to equally shine through. In terms of guitar solo's featured on the album also, this one is the killer. Ultimately adding to the catchy rhythm and atmosphere of the song, while writing this review I listened to this song four times before actually moving on.. Definitely the number one track on the album I would suggest listening to and repeatedly blasting.
However if you don't enjoy loud and bold, King brings it back to sweet and delicate with the melodious ballad, ‘Why I Need You.' The focus on the instrumentation throughout the last few tracks has now been stripped back to compel listeners with the simplicity and emotion of King's honest vocals once more.
Acoustic guitar- infused ballad ‘Someday' is another outstanding tune that features a delicate and sweet melody as the scale works its way up and then down again throughout the chorus. It also displays and reminds listeners of the excellent simplicity of this album, and reinforces the ongoing theme of emotion and love.
Album closer, ‘Beautiful Life,' is a stunning picture-painting ballad, which could easily act as a lullaby or bedtime story. Featuring dynamic guitar chords that leave the vocals as the central focal point, this song showcases King's wonderful song-writing ability, as she gives the listener an observation of our lives and appreciation of the simple things in life.
An incredibly exceptional way to bring the album to an end.
‘The Day Is Young' is certainly a remarkable debut release Shayna King should be proud of. Producing an album that features a little something for everyone, I for one am intrigued with what will come next.
But in the mean time however, have a listen to the album and add Shayna to your list of artists' to watch, because the day is still young and this rising star can only get better.