Shana Cleveland – Manzanita (2023) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Shana Cleveland - Manzanita (2023) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz] Download

Shana Cleveland – Manzanita (2023)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 37:25 minutes | 794 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Hardly Art

Fans of Shana Cleveland’s moody garage surf band La Luz might be thrown for a loop by her significantly more hushed and haunted solo work. If you listen closely to Cleveland’s entire oeuvre, however, it becomes more apparent that she’s been inspecting the same shadowy tones and floating feelings throughout her entire career, just at various degrees of amplitude depending on which form her music takes. Her third solo album, Manzanita, is some of her most low-key and slowly blooming material to date, fleshing out softly flickering folk tunes with understated orchestral arrangements. The album’s strongest track, “Faces in the Firelight,” is also its best utilization of this formula, with Cleveland’s ambling acoustic guitar and smoky vocals elevated by lush strings and a steady soft rock rhythm section. The sparingly placed vocal harmonies dance with a web of organic stringed instruments and synthesizer sounds, creating a mellow and dreamy bedding for the song to coast on. Much of Manzanita keeps this slow smolder going. “Mystic Mine” feels like a lost pastoral acid folk track from 1971, somewhere between Kevin Ayers’ goofy balladry and Linda Perhacs’ dazzled perspectives on the natural world. The instrumentation is dense but dialed back, with electric piano, pedal steel guitar, harpsichord, and growling synths all peeking through on various songs but never overtaking the mix. The songs are so subtle, in fact, that all of the sonic detailing seems to melt into itself, making it feel like Cleveland’s whispering vocals and fingerpicked guitar are the only things happening on tracks like “Evil Eye” and “Quick Winter Sun,” despite the full arrangements playing out in the background. Manzanita is as much an atmosphere as it is an artistic statement, casting a friendly-if-stormy spell on the listener for its 14-track duration and then fading into the mist. It’s a lovely album to get lost in, offering sounds which might go unnoticed on the first few spins, but will rise up as repeat listens make Manzanita’s insular and mysterious dreamworld a more familiar place.Since 2012, Shana Cleveland has been lead guitarist and vocalist for La Luz, an L.A. band with a predilection for punkish surf-rock licks and piercing harmonies. Cleveland’s solo work, however, is cut from a different cloth: quieter, more meditative and entranced by the power of silence and space. She has described her gorgeous second solo effort, Manzanita, as “a supernatural love album set in the California wilderness.”; in fact, the title refers to an evergreen tree found in the Golden State. Building on the warm, splintered acoustic vibe of 2019’s Night of the Worm Moon, the album feels deeply connected to nature and the human condition.

That’s largely due to sparse songs with a watercolor-tinted psychedelic-folk vibe. Mellotron drones uneasily in the background of the sparse “A Ghost,” while acoustic guitar sways gently throughout highlight “Quick Winter Sun,” and pedal steel and piano swirl around the moody “Babe.” Elsewhere, dulcimer, glockenspiel, and harpsichord add whispery textures, while Cleveland noted she used synthesizers “as a way of recreating the atmosphere of being outside in the natural world while in the studio.”

Throughout Manzanita, her crisp, haunting voice always remains at the forefront, searching for connection (“I am a ghost and I’m trying/ To show you what I do/ Can I come through?/ Through you?”) and capturing the exquisite beauty around her. Things aren’t always idyllic—”Ten Hour Drive Through West Coast Disaster” finds Cleveland reciting lyrics, spoken-word-style, that reference wildfires, above a backdrop of solemn, funereal music. However, her sense of wonder is never far from Manzanita’s surface—making this LP one of 2023’s most compelling listens. – Annie Zaleski


1-01. Shana Cleveland – A Ghost (02:51)
1-02. Shana Cleveland – Bloom (00:11)
1-03. Shana Cleveland – Faces in the Firelight (03:36)
1-04. Shana Cleveland – Mystic Mine (03:55)
1-05. Shana Cleveland – Light on the Water (00:39)
1-06. Shana Cleveland – Quick Winter Sun (02:52)
1-07. Shana Cleveland – Bonanza Freeze (02:16)
1-08. Shana Cleveland – Gold Tower (03:30)
1-09. Shana Cleveland – Babe (02:36)
1-10. Shana Cleveland – Ten Hour Drive Through West Coast Disaster (01:24)
1-11. Shana Cleveland – Evil Eye (03:28)
1-12. Shana Cleveland – Mayonnaise (02:57)
1-13. Shana Cleveland – Sheriff of the Salton Sea (02:58)
1-14. Shana Cleveland – Walking Through Morning Dew (04:06)