Supergiant, the debut record from Californian band Valley Queen, burns through the new wave of country-tinged folk-rock coming out of the Deep South and spills over with raw production and emotional charisma.
Enwrapped in a metaphor of cosmic matter, the album is a testament to the beautiful, chaotic force of fast-burning stars, and these musicians alike.
Californian-based outfit Valley Queen have delivered their debut album Supergiant, perfectly capturing the beauty, chaos and intensity of their sound.
Lurched immediately into the stormy grit of distorted guitars and visceral emotion, Silver Tongue opens the LP with a raw intensity that carries throughout the following nine tracks. With instrumental layers rooted in the South, Carol’s vocals spill over with a smooth, folk-like quality that flows through golden highs and growling, jagged lows.
Album title track Supergiant is a charismatic, cosmic anthem that echoes the infinite space of the night sky and carries the metaphor of the album in its fuzzy power-pop. This song feels as boundless as Carol’s voice as she takes under three minutes to confront the humbling force of the universe that collapses even supergiants, all carried by the rock-steady drive of DeLuccia’s drumming.
Following directly from the galactic grit and distortion of Supergiant, Chasing the Muse reels it back and reels you in with a suddenly cleaner guitar riff, a sweet melody that opens a more delicate sound carried by Carol’s vocal flexibility. For the first time on the record, we experience a moment of quiet and reflection before being swept up and away into the whirling rapids of the piece. Wogensen’s pleading baselines underpin the roaring guitar solos and DeLuccia’s crashing percussion that crescendo into another reeling breath-taker.
Stripped-back, naked and bare, Gems and Rubies offers us the album’s most minimal and arguably most powerful song. The power in its intimacy is enthralling, and we’re enchanted with a soft indie-country vibe, showcasing the immense skill and tasteful delicacy of these musicians.
Bedroom drips with honey-golden harmonies between Carol and her bandmates, demonstrating a palpable cohesion between them. After the group’s strained history – intense touring, the loss of members, uncertainty leading up to the studio album – this song resonates of the transformative recording experience. Carol herself says of recording together again that “it certainly trod the ground of the past, the difficulty and disappointment we had faced. But moving through and completing the project brought with it a sensation that the chapter was over.”
Finally, drawing from 70s folk-rock with a hazy and calming atmosphere, the later tracks Two Cups and Carolina allow Morones and Wogensen’s lyrical playing to seep into your bones. The final track, Highway Pearls, wraps the album with a soul-tugging ballad; it feels like we’re being pulled along by a “string of highway pearls” laid down by singing guitars, well-paced percussion, and crystalline vocals, as we’re led to the heart of Valley Queen.
On this intensity, Carol shares, “ultimately that’s part of the beautiful orchestration of being alive—instead of trying to go around that experience, you need to go fully into it. I think that’s the only way to get a deeper understanding of who we really are.”
An album meant to be listened to in its intense entirety, Supergiant is a blazing debut for Valley Queen. Check it out above.