LP REVIEW: NEGATIVES – SPIRIT VALLEY

Spirit Valley are a couple hairy dudes who make hairy tunes. Their second album Negatives is out now, via British label Fuzz Club Records. In the time since the release of their first record Give Trance a Chance the band has moved from Sydney to Amsterdam. This change in location inspiring an evolution in their sonic output.

The duo’s debut release Give Trance a Chance is not by any means unenjoyable, tracks like ‘Moonrocks’ and ‘Victory’ showcase exactly what Spirit Valley are about, heavy psychedelic rock. However, the overall aesthetic of the album felt slightly one dimensional. Negatives sees the band expand their sound, intergrating elements of post-punk, to create a mammoth wall of sound guaranteed to launch you into the stratosphere in forty minutes or less.

Negatives begins with ‘Don’t Panic’ cutting in a grainy sample layered on top of a smooth synthesized loop and primal drumming before an acid drenched riff kicks things up a notch. Leaving the sample in its wake and sweeping a massive vocal saturated in reverb, like we’ve never heard from the duo before, into the frame. ‘Deliria Hysteria’ and ‘Waiting for Real’ are expansive neo-psychedelic productions of lucid exploration into shadows and illumination. Title-track ‘Negatives’ is the moodiest composition on the release, intertwining between a wild delay laden vocal delivery, a brooding deep vocal chant and instrumental sections of post-punk inflected psychedelic rock, not for the faint of heart.

‘TNNLVSSN’ is probably the one subpar effort on the record, clocking in at over seven minutes, it felt like Spirit Valley decided to jam out atmosphere for the sake of atmosphere. Instrumental track ‘Heatwave’ is an investigation of the haunting tonality of science fiction scores. ‘Chronic Youth’ is a seamless blend of psychedelic rock and post-punk, featuring a vocal inflection synonymous with Interpol’s Paul Banks, and a spoken passage, the track would not sound misplaced alongside Evil or PDA. Closing out the record is ‘Vacational Mind’ and ‘Spheres’ featuring the same enthralling passages of huge vocal reverbs, primitive drumming, alluring synth tones and irresistible guitar parts.

Two years in the making, Negatives is a colossal affair of neo-psychedelia. The incorporation of synthesiser, and elements of post-punk seem to have been the missing links on earlier releases. It’s doomy, it’s dreamy; it’s daring. It’s the sonic incarnation of moving across the globe to pursue your passions. Spirit Valley have taken strides on this record and their next release is eagerly awaited.

Highlights: Daily Hysteria, Chronic Youth

Lowlights: TNNLVSSN

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