new music: sunny shading’s lorelei is intimate, personal, and staggeringly honest #soundcheck

February 18, 2015

Two thirds of the way through Lorelei, Sunny Shading distills his confessional lyrics down to an essential couplet: “But maybe is such a strong damn word that doesn’t really mean a thing / so I’ll say just what I mean.” Singer Theo Francois doesn’t so much write lyrics as document his inner monologue. A swirl of insecurities, anxieties, but also hopes, Francois’ music is the soundtrack to that moment when you realize things aren’t how you expected them to be.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

With hid self-depreciating acidic humor, Theo Francois opens the record with “But, Sleeping’s What I’m Good At…” The fretboards of a million acoustic guitars are stained by regret over a failed relationship, but Theo Francois does an admirable job of unpacking his own complicity in the failure. On “A Shameful Man Sounds a lot Like a Sinking Man,” he directs the blame squarely at himself, breaking with convention of literally every post-emo acoustic ballad ever written.

The record is full of a desperate desire to sprout wings. “Icarus,” “When Pigs Fly (The Night I Grew Wings),” and “Fly Away” long for an out of reach escape. Gravity’s a cruel mistress. While Sunny Shading’s cockpit confessionals make up the bulk of Lorelei’s running time, the strongest moments are those where his self-criticism give way to hope that maybe this time it’ll work out. “Maybe” is the record’s highlight, alongside album closer “Windmills.” The repeated chorus of “I’m gonna be okay” carries some weight in light of the emotional scars and bruises outlined throughout Lorelei. This isn’t some false optimism. This hope has been fought for and earned.