Vanish Valley: Get Good


Vanish Valley are new but sound like they’ve been around forever. How else to explain singer Andrew McAllister’s world-weary pipes on the fragile folksy opener “Hazy Hills” that could’ve fallen off the demo tape for Wilco’s Summerteeth. The song sets the mood for a warm, cozy but still challenging journey that sounds like a happy Ray LaMontagne. However it’s that Tweedy-esque approach that makes it all come together, particularly on the poppy simplicity of “Races” as he repeats the lyrics “strength inside your knees” towards the closing.

This Americana style is nothing new, but it’s rarely done so easily as McAllister and his band of musicians have managed to do it. From the mid-tempo harmonica-soaked jewel “Slowdown” that is equal parts soul as it is roots, much in the vein of early Golden Smog. And it’s the consistency of the record which is its biggest asset, hardly letting up off the quality pedal on another little sleeper or dark horse in “The Bottom” which explodes in the chorus in the vein of Marah.

The true keeper of this collection is the intense Arcade Fire-lite “Stuck In LA” that packs quite a pretty wallop. Sadly the doo-wop feel behind “Waiting” sounds more like a doo-oops, a tune that might make a good b-side but doesn’t quite hit the mark here. Thankfully it’s a small miscue corrected with the spring-in-your-step Dylan-influenced “Stumbling Man” that chugs along perfectly. In general, Vanish Valley made songs here that won’t vanish quickly, capped off by “Lion’s Den” that brings Sparklehorse to mind. They don’t have to get good because they are good.

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