There’s a feeling of purpose and desire in the artwork for Shana Falana’s Set Your Lightning Fire Free (above) that stuck with me, urged me to press play. Contrary to the light-infused title, Lightning Fire is a record of psychedelic dream pop dashed on the rocks of goth defiance. But those same feelings are there: a desire for flight, an unrelenting urge to move forward, upward. This is indie rock like needlepoint, meticulously pored over, embellished until every stitch is strong enough to carry the whole. Particularly, the album’s pair of early tracks “Gone” and “Go” warp vocal loops and droning, moony guitars until leaving and movement feel contained in the songs themselves.
Falana is a musician based in Kingston, NY who has been writing and recording songs for nearly two decades, and the easy confidence of a veteran comes through, even if this is technically her debut record. “I would have two or three bands at one time,” she admits, and they ranged from “a sludge rock band, a Bulgarian women’s choir, and a pretty, dreamy organ and guitar duo.” On this record, she’s combining all of those influences and adding one more: The addition of Mike Amari to her life as both a percussionist and a boyfriend fans Lightning Fire into a roaring, crackling blaze. There’s hints of new wave here as well, which can probably be credited to producer Dan Goodwin (Devo). On “Know UR Mine” Falana assumes various robotic vocal effects to chuckle through power plays, but during ’80s-leaning power ballad “Shine Thru” her voice is closer to Dido, or even Enya, in tissue-paper delicacy. This is an album that pivots on a resistance to any sort of central tenet, constantly moving forward, shedding skin as it goes. Stream it below.
Set Your Lightning Fire Free is out 4/7 via Team Love Records.