Ask someone to define Texas music, and you’ll likely get a wide variety of responses – country, swing, Tejano, or maybe even a simple, insistent “Willie.” Corpus Christi’s Shayna Sands brings a different flavor to her state’s music, something that could be termed “Texas Gothic.” Her new EP, Motions of the Day, brings that feeling to life – guitar-based, moody, eerie, steeped in 50s rock, and worthy of a Robert Rodriguez short film to help tell its stories.
Sands’ background in classical guitar and composition is evident from note one. Lead track “3417” begins with acoustic guitar, plaintive harmonica and mournful cello before Zak Kaszynski’s south-of-the-border trumpet riff kicks the tune into gear. Lyrically, the song evokes images of a long-gone squatters’ refuge/DIY music venue hidden in a Texas suburb, where Sands recalls turbulent nights past – “Electrified the music scene/Where love destroys/And tempers swing/Hot and cold and all in between.”
“If You Don’t Mind” is a slow rock waltz set against Ben Howard’s sad-calliope keys as Sands reveals a slow-to-warm persona to a potential lover, but entices him to stick around. – “I’d like you to stay…These are the things I never say.” “Secret Pain,” which bounces pedal steel from John Macy off of Sands’ indie-rock phrasing, could be the aftermath of that relationship It highlights those post-breakup, oddly nostalgic flashbacks we all have (here, it’s broken bed springs) with subtext found in bad-idea phone calls: “I heard your voice last week/When I called/You said ‘I hope you’re doin’ well’/But you meant ‘f@ck off.’” Been there.
The title cut addresses that most underrated of all life forces – inertia. Going through the “Motions of the Day” belies a lack of actual progress – “So we’re suspended in emotion, now.” But sometimes we’ll get the kick we need: “I’ll forever thank your rivers/For taking me with them/And removing me/From the motions…I was bound by.” And the final cut, “Heart Beat,” pairs guitar with Jacob Lipman’s violin as Sands tries to keep moving – “I left my delirium with my pills and my sad rapport.” Five songs is an all-too-brief introduction to an artist with Shayna Sands’ way of telling stories – her unique sound is definitely feature-worthy.
Motions of the Day was produced by Shayna Sands and Ben Howard, engineered by Mason Shirley, mixed by Howard and mastered by Jerry Tubb. All songs were written by Sands. Additional musicians include J.M. Muniz (bass), Cody Strong (drums), David Lescalleet IV (cello), and Victoria Majors (backup vocals).
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