Shell Of A Girl

Sunny War

Hen House Studios, 2019

http://www.sunnywar.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/22/2019

There's a whole army of currently rising musicians with a sharp eye for political and social commentary, and whose art seemingly defies categorization. The Los Angeles songstress Sunny War, a forthright and brazen young woman with an iconoclastic mind, is at the top of that list. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

With Shell Of A Girl, War – who has been writing songs since the was just 13 years old –delivers like an old soul who is really coming into her own. 

“Shell” gets the album off to a warm and spirited start with a light and groove-filled setting as War's inimitable and smooth vocals take zero time to enjoy. “Where The Lost Get Found” follows with a soft acoustic guitar alongside emotive vocals that bring in harmonicas and playful percussion, too.

A lyrically rich album, songs like “Drugs Are Bad” don't pull any punches on the topic, as blues ideas invade the cautious, folky melodies that have some biting punk spirit in them. Meanwhile, “Love Became Pain” shuffles with an Americana feeling that's full of ruggedness amid the timeless beauty. “Soul Tramp,” one of the many highlights present, recruits acrobatic guitar playing that I'd have to imagine that Elliott Smith would admire.

Near the end, “Got No Ride” is a graceful journey of meticulous instrumentation that seems tailor made for late night contemplation, and “The Likes Of You” continues that theme with brilliant picking and a laidback approach. “XO” exists the listen with keys and agile guitar playing, with War's creative prowess shining bright.

A former Venice Beach performer who was homeless not too long ago either, Sunny War grew up active in the punk scene (her previous band was called Anus Kings). While Shell Of A Girl might flirt heavily with folk-punk, there are also jazz influences, roots flavor, and plenty of moody yet charming song craft to be found on this articulate, gripping album.

Rating: A-

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