EP Review – Introvert Blues – The Valery Trails (Self released) (EP)
Of course the whole pandemic thing was bad. People were dying (and for every ‘were’, I kmow thatin many places there is a ‘are’ still), the most cantakerous of society were stamping their feet like demented toddlers over the vaccine issue and varying levels of ecomomic destruction occured with oft concomittant, increase in mental health issues.
But wow(!), it certainly helped to produce some extremely good music. Not in the sense of the ‘immediate lockdown music’ that was largely made by doe eyed, middle class teens from the home recording studios that mommy and daddy had bought them to cheer them up, but more the music that was released a year after the worst of the pandemic, where art of reflection had been added.
Similarly the pandemic encouraged (or forced / or enabled) people to unite in musical endeavours. The Valery Trails are one such example, as the 5+ years hiatus between their superlative, third, Chameleon Bones album, is now ended as a result of Aussie ex-pat and frontman, Andrew Bower’s, pandemic induced return to the remainder of the band in their home town of Brisbane.
Thankfully, this Introvert Blues EP (they call it a single on Bandcamp, but there is three songs of such depth, it just feels like the title of “EP”, is infinitely more appropriate) sounds as invigorated as such a reunion should be.
The opening title track, moves within the musical hinterland between a sound that Dinosaur Jr never quite got around to and the driving, slightly sinister riffs of The Cult. All fuzz-laden, with slight faux melodies trying to claw their way to the surface to be heard, this is a perfect conflict of sounds.
The following Benefits of Motion is vastly different. Taking on the ‘dulcet’ of so many Triple J and Dunedin sound acts, whilst submerging the aesthetic in the understated, almost retro under-production of the Seeking Madras aesthetic. This is a perfectly underdone vibe for those who like their jangle-pop served a bit raw.
Such a rawness continues in their cover of The Reiverstrack, Araby. Here the sound takes on an altogether more sturdy power-pop approach that is reminiscent of the grumbling riffs of Dot Dash, as a sense of dynamism and cod aggression enables a sense of testosterone fuelled to add substance and completes an EP with three vastly disparate syles of sound.
Hopefully Andrew Bower’s 10 year sojourn in Texas is permanently over, as this band simply needs to be together !