Two piece bands are the hot dollar these days. Brisbane thrash rock mainstays DZ Deathrays, Wollongong up and comers Hockey Dad and English heroes Royal Blood have all found love (platonic and we’d assumer other) for their bare boned, simple and sincere rock sensibilities. As having two band members continues to see a rise in popularity, the search for the next head bangin’ two piece has begun. Cue Spirit Valley, the growling, thumping successor to this long linea of rockin’ two piece bands.
Spirit Valley don’t hold back the intensity on their debut offering Give Trance A Chance. Part brooding nightmare, part balls out rocker and part dance party soundtrack, the Sydney duo have pulled together an absolute howler of an album.
Spirit Valley are comprised of Dave Tomlinson and Chris Stabback, a pair of fellows who call beautiful Sydney home. In the short time they’ve been together the guys have carved a distinctive identity for themselves. Their music is confronting, aggressive, yet surprisingly upbeat and could easily be enjoyed with a dance. Hence the self-appointed genre of ‘doomshine boogie’, and it is pretty much a very appropriate moniker for a band’s sound that is as flexible as Spirit Valley’s. The band have received plenty of praise for their work, and that certainly won’t stop as the band gear up for the release of their debut album Give Trance A Chance.
What sets Spirit Valley apart from the aforementioned bands at the top there is their playfulness, particularly on instrumental tracks like Victory that is slightly reminiscent of fellow Sydney group (though not a two piece) sleepmakeswaves. Even though it’s a standard four minute track the spacious drumming and guitar riffs that click along with such a carefree attitude make the Victory stretch beyond it’s time constraints. It’s a welcome, refreshing change of pace on Give Trance A Chance, and this attitude towards songwriting is a highlight on the album. Spirit Valley have shaken things up by track three, and instead of hitting that middle of the album slump that so many rock bands do they manage to revitalise the record quickly and have you recharged for the next act. Rattlesnake is a worthy follow up, droning, imposing vocals dominating the track.
The album continues to weave itself between high tempo rockers and atmospheric, moody songs that one wouldn’t be surprised to find on Batman’s brooding playlist. Particularly the appropriately titled Abyss, a song to put you into the mood to watch the film James Cameron profited off rather than one of his own. Those wailing synths in the chorus strike a nerve, evoking this overwhelming sensation of being weighed down by something made of nightmares. Carrying on is the thudding, almost jolly (and best titled track) Nightsharks. It manages to lull you into a false sense of security with it’s docile crooning and timid riffs, until it sneaks up from behind and begins to roar. It’s a belter of a track and one that is bound to be a highlight when seeing Spirit Valley live.
We could go on, particularly on the momentous album closer Forever, which ironically clocks in at over twelve minutes. But to best get a feel for Give Trance A Chance you’ll have to give it a go yourself. It’s a howling, contorting beast of a record, and Spirit Valley have done well to capture such a range of sounds without spreading themselves too thin.
Spirt Valley will be hitting the road next month, and you can catch them in all their rock n roll glory on the below dates. Give Trance A Chance is out Friday 27 February.
Thursday 5 March – Rad Bar, Wollongong NSW
Friday 6 March – The Sly Fox, Sydney NSW
Thursday 12 March – Phoenix Bar, Canberra ACT
Friday 20 March – Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne VIC w/ Wolf & Cub
Saturday 21 March – Old Bar, Fitzroy VIC
Thursday 26 March – Tio’s, Sydney NSW
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