Album of the Day: Shana Falana, “Darkest Light”

 

Since her 2012 debut, Shana Falana has been a stalwart voice of the Hudson Valley’s modern indie scene: a frequent presence at local shows, a Kingston-area DJ, and the voice of a colorful shoegaze duo, where she winds gothic tunes around her dreamy, drifting vocals.

On previous records, Falana processed, layered, and distorted her vocal tracks until they became just another plug-in in her arsenal. On Darkest Light, though, she opts for something more harrowingly direct. The results can be subtle, but they’re always surprising. She punctuates “Everyone is Gonna Be Okay,” a Ride-style rush of overdriven guitars, with a snotty, nasal kick that recalls Kathleen Hanna and Patti Smith, instantly transitioning the song from a swan dive to a crane kick. “Come On Over” charts a course directly between Echo & the Bunnymen and the Black Angels, with Falana chanting the title’s demand with equal parts lust and malice, carrying the song’s seven-plus minutes on her snarl alone.

Darkest Light particularly glows during its heaviest moments, as on the cosmically doomy title track. But it’s just as effective when Falana strips it all back. “Come and Find Me” opens with just voice and guitar, synths occasionally bleeding in around the edges. But as Falana sings about “wandering deeply,” a choir emerges from the fog, her lonely words echoed by a ghostly army of voices. Like all of Darkest Light, it is simple, direct, and startlingly effective.

-Robert Rubsam

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