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The Valley Arena
Take Comfort In Strangers
Astro Magnetics
www.thevalleyarena.com


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 to.

-bishop

Track listing:

1) To the Bitter Amputees
2) Into the Lion's Mouth
3) Paint it Red
4) Carneceria
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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