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Valley Hush: Don’t Wait

Detroit group crafts evocative collage of electronica, pop, and indie rock on second EP.
Valley Hush
Don’t Wait EP
Self-released
2015-06-06

With their second EP, Valley Hush dig deeper into their diamond mine, bringing forth shimmering gems of sonic experimentation. Don’t Wait sees the Detroit group fusing electronica, pop, and indie rock as they did on 2014 debut To Feel Small, but with a greater resonance and commanding confidence, evident in the riskier deviations. The hooks abound, planting earworms in each of the five songs. Multi-instrumentalist Alex Kaye creates synesthesia-inducing textures in his crystalline production, which serve as the perfect bed for Lianna Vanicelli to lay her alternately predatory, consoling, or yearning vocals upon.

Bubbly beats sounding like augmented baby coos open the EP in “Children”. Above this disarming bedrock, Vanicelli establishes the record’s theme of anti-materialism and reveling in the moment by contrasting depictions of entitled youths with their disenfranchised age group half a world away. “Hey little girl / Do you understand / That the things you cry for / Were made by younger hands?” she asks in a delicate croon, as Kaye’s guitar sidewinds behind her. Successor “Black Sea” dramatically switches gears, Vanicelli obsessive and dominating in a Rid of Me-era PJ Harvey kind of way. She demands the object of her desire hand over everything — body, mind, and soul — amid a cavernous sprawl of harsh percussion and synth blasts. The beats come hard and heavy, the noir vibe encircling like an undertow in an ill-advised midnight swim.

Smack in the middle is the record’s centerpiece, “Healthy Hours”. Harpsichord keys herald it before a compressed, synthesized bassline kicks in. The lyrical content brings back the concept of forsaking the quest for the almighty dollar, Vanicelli encouraging listeners not to hold life in abeyance, but to embrace it in the stark chorus, Kaye’s guitar bolstering her pleading tone. It’s followed by the brief and tender “Raw Form”, a zeroed-in ballad and the most restrained number of the bunch. Without being cloying, it offers a snapshot of romanticism, seducing you and ending before you know it. The climax arrives in “The River”, all finger-snaps and distorted bluesy guitar. With serpentine vocals, you can practically smell the incense rising off it as the intensity builds before wrapping with a flittering melodica to add to its quirkiness. Short though it is, Don’t Wait begs to be put on repeat as the perfect soundtrack for a night of sensual liaisons.

RATING 7 / 10
PopMatters