Words by Angelika May
Shana Cleveland has composed a profound ode to life and love in her new single “Faces in the Firelight”, her first release since her 2019 album “Night of the Worm Moon”.
PHOTO CREDIT: KRISTIN COFER
“Faces in the Firelight” is a juxtaposing track, a sentiment of the complexity of love, personified through poetic verses and supported with a cacophony of strings that weigh this track with solace. Comparing this to her previous album, Cleveland’s ethereal voice qualities still remain however her acoustic heavy, often psychedelic or “Spaghetti Western” sound has been replaced with an orchestral symphony of strings.
“Faces in the Firelight”, although more of a cacophony, gives the appearance of a “stripped back sound” as Cleveland moves away from external influences which were poignant in “NOTWM”, particularly that of the Afro-futuralist movement such as Herman “Sun Ra” Blout and instead looks inwards to cultivate her own sound.
For me, this song captures witnessing a fleeting moment through time, Cleveland imitates this feeling with a subtle beat from the snare, that replicates the sound of a ticking clock. Cleveland’s evolution, has been influenced heavily by her own human development, inspired by her relationship with life partner Will Sprott (Shannon and the Clams) and her child, Cleveland captures the finite intersectionality of love for child and partner through vivid lyricism. Notable lyrics include, “till our time is through” which condenses the ephemerality of a fleeting moment, both philosophical and literal as this song was inspired by an occasion where her partner resembled the ultrasound of their child. It’s a deeply pensive lyric, one that has remained haunting as we contemplate that love and life will one day cease.
Watch the video for "Faces in the Firelight":
Another poignant lyric from this track, “do you love me like I do” revives anxieties and doubts that makes love so complex. Not only does this lyric refer to the love between her and her partner, but implies this often difficult, often unbalanced unconditional love between mother and child. “Faces in the Firelight”, is to be featured on Cleveland’s album “Manzanita”, which is to be released this March. The word “Manzanita”, is derived from an evergreen tree with strong medical properties. The symbolism behind the title, resonates with Cleveland’s intention to cultivate herself as a transcendent being where she does not only have a relationship with nature, but that nature and herself are one.
Keep an eye out for the release of “Manzanita” which debuts on the 10th of March via Hardly Art Records.
Listen to “Faces in the Firelight” here, and pre-order 'Manzanita' below:
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