Sweden can do no wrong when it comes to psychedelic rock, and Valley is the latest export deserving of some attention.
Sweden has a tremendous knack for producing bands that understand psychedelic rock in a way that few other countries, if any, can match. Instrumental band Valley is the latest to surface, and they impress mightily on their debut EP Sunburst, which gracefully weaves its way through post-rock expansiveness, krautrock repetition, psychedelic dreaminess, and a welcome touch of Americana that sets the music apart from their peers.
"We all come from different musical backgrounds, all five of us," the band collectively tell PopMatters. "Together we are influenced and inspired by a host of genres. From Swedish folk music to heavy metal, from funk to electronic drone music. Just about everything really. And out comes something unique, something that’s been filtered through every member of the band. It is our own music. Now, of course, it has traces from all those genres, all those bands, and all that other music. But it’s our music, our sound.
"The wheels turn slowly for us; Valley’s creative process tends to be long. Not that we’re perfectionist or anything, it is just that we need to reach that particular dissonance, that little unexpected detail that changes the song. A detail that brings a certain inherent sadness, a blue feeling, or 'vemod' – that’s the Swedish word we like to use to describe that particular kind of sadness. It takes time to find that feeling, you can’t follow a blueprint or a recipe. It doesn’t work that way.
"The music is all about conjuring contrasting images. The world is full of both beautiful and terrible things and events. Some are even both those things at the same time. The music has to reflect that in some way, otherwise it isn’t worth writing or playing it.
"It is a great feeling to have and share, when you’re on the verge of throwing another song in the garbage. A song that might have held great promise but never really took off, never really managed to deliver. And then suddenly someone comes up with a particular melody or riff that just… just elevates the song. Then it’s like fitting a keystone or something. It’s beautiful. A great feeling."
Sunburst will be released 11 September.