[Album Review] Vallens- Consent
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Release Date:  June 24, 2016
Label:  Hand Drawn Dracula

Vallens continue to stamp their distinctive mark on the musical territory they occupy. You can use terms like post-punk, goth-gaze, dark grunge, whatever. They only serve as a very general means of pointing out what this Toronto band is not (they are not Top 40 or country, for example) but they are not much help in describing the unique sound that is Vallens.

Not to say that Vallens’ songs are formulaic (in fact, there is an impressive variety in their sound) but the group’s favoured approach is to first mesmerize you with a groove, which can be slow and swirly, electric and heavy, or even mathy. Then Robyn Phillips does her magic by weaving in her melodic vocals, laced with a great deal of artistic ennui. When you are fully immersed and floating off in a haze, that is when they hit you with a crash of guitars. It’s clever and it’s effective. It works on the David Lynchian dreampop number “Still Need Dreams” and equally well on the heavier and more psychedelic “Tennessee Haze”. It even works on their noisy, math-influenced ode to The Carpenters’ singer “Karen”.

The fact is, Vallens does their own thing and they do it very well. You can use genre labels if it helps you narrow down the musical territory but don’t have the temerity to use labels to pigeon-hole these guys or box them in.