Sunny War – Shell of a Girl
Hen House Studios
– out Aug. 23
4 / 5
It’s not easy to tell that LA-based Sunny War comes from a lineage of punk music. And on her fourth studio album, that sonic past feels even more distant, seemingly replaced with dreamy, beach-faded nostalgia and sense of bossa nova. Shell of a Girl is a minimalist portrayal of the echoes of nostalgia: it comes together with a slight rasp to Sunny’s vocals, hand drums, acoustic and mellowed electric guitars, and not much else (bass, occasional harmonica). It takes some getting used to, but a few listens in and the sadness of nostalgia, the sadness of survival, even, is the connecting thread lyrically throughout.
The lead single, “Shell,” could well be a cut from Norah Jones’ debut album Come Away With Me. It’s light, it’s breezy, and for all its pleasantness, it’s rooted in pain and psychological depth. The other cuts here are similarly laid-back and well-constructed; we’ll pull out the closer “XO” as another choice pick. A song hoping for a second chance at love, Sunny gives her most angelic vocals. It’s a wistful piece and an airy closer appropriate to the mood throughout.
Shell of a Girl is a quiet little gem that we suspect will fly under the radar because it takes several listens to get into. Introverted, introspective and painful, this one comes highly recommended.
Check out her music on the official site.