A fascinating mix of 90s grunge and millennial DIY, Canadian-American duo Francis of Delirium has released “Ashamed”, their latest single on Dalliance Recordings (GiaMargaret, Wilsen, Common Holly). Forthcoming EP All Change is a coming of age document for the 18-year-old singer and songwriter Jana Bahrich, an intensely personal chronicle of the challenges posed by adolescence.
“‘Ashamed’ is about navigating how much of yourself you should be giving out to other people and then second-guessing yourself, feeling like what you are giving out isn’t enough, feeling inadequate, being ashamed of that,” Bahrich explains.
Like on previous single “Circles”, “Ashamed” finds her cycling around her in her head until she runs out of the road, both literally and physically – their current home, the tiny European country of Luxembourg, stretches no longer than 51 miles in length. “Your head’s going round and around and around,” she laments in the thrashing chorus. “Ashamed” is so tightly strung that it borders on the breaking point, Bahrich’s mental torpor replicated in its jousting guitars. A gyrating Alice in Chains-like riff lies at its core – symbolizing the 90s grunge that Bahrich and collaborator Chris Hewett, 30 years her senior, first bonded over.
The video made in self-isolation by Bahrich explores the theme further: “There’s one moment where I hit my head and a red circle followed by white rings appear. It’s a visual representation of both mental self-harm that the narrator is experiencing and mirroring of the Talking Heads video “Once in a Lifetime.” I’ve always interpreted the song to be achieving commonly accepted societal goals – the beautiful house, the beautiful wife, etc. In “Ashamed,” I’m beating myself up for failing to achieve that idealized version of success.”