Review Summary: "song of the year" on the "EP of the year"? no way.Way...
The reason Defeater
is the greatest testament hardcore will ever give, without a shadow of a doubt, is because of its instantaneous authority. One day the world is without this album, the next day it explodes the legendry of its makers with a resounding so. A soul-sellingly worthy follow up in Lost Ground
and a template was innocently established in how hardcore would come to form in the following years. La Dispute
and Touché Amore
both found substantial footing from a collaborative effort that was met with unanimous praise and cemented firmly their growths in later follow-ups. It’s been like this for a while now. Bands are sneaking in stealing breaths of spotlight and then fading before their wades completely fade. Departures, The Men, Pianos Become the Teeth, Trophywife, etc. All have been here, did their thing
; now most have settled nicely back down beneath the light no longer trying to change lives as opposed to just having one to live. This is by no means a bad thing. Hardcore now has its most organic movement in comparison to its heavier cousins amongst the genre scale. This stage is of a happy house arrangement setting the table for anyone to release jaw dropping albums that feel so in tune with our emotions because they’re all essentially riding the same wave.
It’s Vales turn.
There was a glimmer of hope in my eye when it snuck a peak at the cover of Vale’s debut EP Clarity
while it was downloading, that winter there sure reminds me Kerouac
,that glimmer then sprung a smirk. Mostly I can be thankful that Clarity
is just good. One could find reasons to argue against Vales’ case, their methods do have a familiar flavor, but one never argues with a good meal and they deliver the goods on all fronts. There is a true sense of despair that lathers over this debut constantly tugging to lower defenses for the listen. There’s a determination vibe ringing from the voice of Clarity
setting the scene of one screaming at another as they walk away, the others efforts worthless, but that hope never draining. The hope in life’s most gut wrenching moments is what’s been captured here. A soundtrack if you would, but one you would never want played during those moments because of the authenticity of the music.
One look at “Stallions”, the track of the year, and it’s easy to see why Vales sound comfortable in dealing with such gloomy elements. Their use of punks structure is much akin to More Than Life
the way they bounce from spaz driven riff to elaborate crunches signifies the control of punch that’s given to the listener. When executed this flawlessly were presented with this bite that gives some depth to its wounds. These quick flurries, these tantrums, which Vales throw with nonchalant adherences to how their emotions should be channeled are the raw nature that suits this environment of hardcore so well. Their last minute of airtime is spent begging to be brought to the ground while noise disrupts the background all before elevating to louder
noises that disrupt the foreground and what we’re left with is an inconclusive statement to Vales current resume.
This band has got a fire that feels as though its ashes will leave stories to tell. Travels
snuck in under the radar, lit a fire to the screen, and they’ve been searching for a similar spark ever since. This is what makes releases like these so special because their aid to the overall landscape of hardcore is more precedent then people often consider. Everyone is out trying to match an emotion that had never been cut as so real and it’s giving us, the consumer, all the benefits with efforts like Vales’ Clarity
. The greater ambiguity this band gives this release and their future will be telling of how resounding a statement like this will be. Not needing to be able to discern a considerable amount of the tracks lyrics was a painless cause and in fact spoke to the releases ability to breathe so similarly to our reality. So yeah, don’t look now, but you just might miss the next best thing.