Now that is what I'm talking about. Right from track one, The
Valley Arena grabs my attention and maintains it through an elegantly
crafted record, varying themes and feels to create a solid piece of
work. Every song is beautifully intricate and full of smart ideas
and changes that heighten the listening experience. "Into the
Lion's Mouth" takes the bitter subject of betrayal, bases it
with movement in drums and the juxtaposition of guitars and vocals
that bleed over the motif, so that you can't help but feel listening
to it. The guitars won me over completely in "Paint it Red"
with constant but not intuitive main lines, while a subtle equally
counterintuitive lead dances in and out of the major themes. "What
We Can Steal", also another favorite of mine, shows constraint
in how the instruments interact, and ultimately makes sacrifices for
the end sound that are worth it.
Everything about this album is beautiful and brilliant. Production
nicely chooses emphasis points and pulls back at other times to make
the songs literally breathe in and out as the record progresses. Drums
are basic in nature but accurately take each song as separate and
individual, not repeating any styles. Guitars mesh together at key
points and form intricate tapestries at others to maintain intelligent
designs across the board. Bass aptly does what is necessary, with
a few breakout parts that add to the fold. Vocals represent the material
well with pathos and determination.
What else can I say: smart, interesting, and enjoyable. I greatly
look forward to more from this highly accomplished band. You should
1) To the Bitter Amputees
2) Into the Lion's Mouth
3) Paint it Red
5) Burn Off Regret
6) What We Can Steal
7) Piano Wire
8) The Metal of Your Teeth
9) The Plastic Knife You Swing
10) Take Comfort in Strangers
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