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“Catch A Wave (C.A.W.)” by Keyvous

Keyvous really doesn’t mind breaking off something substantially more melodic and elaborate in tone than most rappers can these days, his words echoing the emotion in his band’s play with a powerful vocal thrust to the rhythm of “Catch A Wave (C.A.W.),” his latest single to win the favor of critics and fans this summer. Keyvous has a way with words – most of us know this by now – but in “Catch A Wave (C.A.W.),” he makes it hard for even the stingiest of critics to deny his place in today’s hierarchy of indie singers.

This single isn’t just about displaying the charming lyricism Keyvous has built his entire music career around; far from it, truth be told. There’s a lot to the instrumental fabric of “Catch A Wave (C.A.W.),” and it all starts with the bedrock melodies that provide a gateway to the track in its opening moments. Everything is structured off of the harmonies it would and ultimately does, forges with the adjacent lead vocal, and through bittersweet beat theatrics towards the end of the song, all of the loose ends wind up being tied together in a perfect ribbon of rhythm and rhyme.

The vocal harmonies in “Catch A Wave (C.A.W.)” are some of the smoothest I’ve heard in a Keyvous single, and that’s no small statement to make when we take a look at just how profound some of his past cuts have been. His last single truly was a singer’s smorgasbord of color, texture, and tone broken into chapter-like movements that had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end but in tracks like this one, the verses feel like epics in their own right, compiled together in a collection of stories and poems that could be arranged any which way and still sound incredibly moving.

I found the beat in this song to be remarkably strong from the jump, but I like that it’s never intrusive on the vocal or any of the other instrumental components in the track. There was a lot of work put into the construction of this piece, and most – if not all – of it took place on the artist’s side of the glass. The mix is beefy but definitely nothing I would deem overly physical, and even in its most vulnerable of moments, the sonic depth of this single comes from the harmony and seldom from the soundboard.

If Keyvous can keep what he’s got on deck rolling into 2023, he’s going to see even more exposure and success going beyond the underground he’s become so dominant in, and I doubt I’m the only observer noting as much this September. He’s got all the right framework to capture some of the spotlight away from his mainstream contemporaries who have by and large abandoned the traditional R&B vocal model and with a song like “Catch A Wave (C.A.W.)” out now to start the year off right, few will be able to debate his eagerness to reach a wider audience.

Mindy McCall



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