Valley have been around since 2010, but it’s only now with the release of Sunburst that their career is truly starting. After evolving from a three piece band into a quintet, they’d finally discovered the direction their music would take, and this is the final result: a half-hour alt rock tour de force, ambitious in length for a four track EP but mostly a success.
As a result of the members’ interest in psych rock and jazz the songs are all extended cuts, with Kiro being the shortest at just under five minutes and Picture Puzzle Pattern Door reaching an astounding ten minutes in length. Mixed with Valley’s mid-tempo instrumental rock sound, it’s a mix that could have made for some lacklustre material, but they surprisingly pull it off better than expected.
On first listen the songs can seem quite similar to each other, but each track has its own little touches that become more apparent the second time around: Kiro’s psych drone and minimal percussion, Dream Shooter, Golden!’s increased percussion a didgeridoo use and Tunguska’s guitar layering being the minor examples. Picture Puzzle Pattern Door shows the most creativity, moving from a subdued folk intro to a tense middle section featuring spoken word vocals, before closing on a jazzy, psych-influenced section. It covers a lot of ground in ten minutes, but it does it well.
Despite an initial sense of scepticism towards the EP, the end result certainly allayed those fears. Valley have crafted a solid collection of songs here, mixing elements of different styles of rock music to make something that covers all of their areas of interest while remaining true to their style as a band. While it’s not the most groundbreaking material, they’re skilled enough to make it work. If you can last through Sunburst’s half hour run time you won’t be disappointed by what you hear.