Shana Falana | Darkest Light
The world was frightening enough in spring 2018, when Shana Falana stepped up to the studio mic to sing the head-and-heart-strong mantra "Everything is Gonna Be Okay." Two years later, with the quantum leap in anxiety ushered in by the arrival of COVID-19, and the anthem takes on a level of added resonance that the Kingston rocker couldn't have foreseen. For all the unapologetic shoegazing that Falana is known for, her namesake duo's (Falana on vocals and guitar; Michael Amari on drums) perceived dusky din has always also been imbued with a kind of sing-songy, optimistic radiance. The difference with Darkest Light, her seventh studio release, is that this time around, true to the album's title, she's amped up the blackness—only to find more brightness within it. And, conversely, more blackness in the brightness.
For the track that's truly, to borrow a line from This Is Spinal Tap, none more black, look to the title tune: "Darkest Light" brings shuddering shards of P.J. Harvey circa To Bring You My Love, pointing the way to the heart of darkness, where "redemption lies." While the new wave nod of Depeche Mode's "Stripped" doesn't mess much with the original, its dark entry certainly fits the murky mood; besides that, it stirs the swamp to make way for the album's standout, "Right Now is All We Know" (Ram Dass is thanked in the credits), a postpunk pounder that gives Austin dark lords the Black Angels a run for their murky money. Long may Falana's black light shine.