The Oh Hellos
Through The Deep, Dark Valley


4.5
superb

Review

by Caleb McAlpine USER (108 Reviews)
August 30th, 2013 | 13 replies | 1,475 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: hinging on nigh-perfect melodies and built upon a foundation of faultless arrangements, ‘Through the Deep, Dark Valley’ is a rare (and free) self-produced masterpiece

4 of 5 thought this review was well written

I find a bit of relief in how unassuming brother/sister duo The Oh Hellos make themselves out to be. They’re frank about their influences, and you can hear it all over their music: the kitschy bass-drum-led “folk”-pop Mumford & Sons made famous, the tranquil vocal pads of Sufjan Stevens, the up-and-down dynamic arrangements of The Head and the Heart; it’s all present. Now, considering how ubiquitous and obnoxious this Lumineer-y trend in popular music is, I understand I’m making the pair’s 2012 debut - Through the Deep, Dark Valley - a non-compelling package. But they’re not only okay about being realistic about which band’s books they’re taking cues from, they’re also okay about doing a much better job at it than Cpt. Mumford himself could dream of. Through the Deep, Dark Valley is a thoughtful, insightful, and masterfully arranged/performed album that is both entrancing and humble in spirit.

Based on a concept too broad in delivery for anyone to actually pick up on, Through the Deep, Dark Valley is both a exercise in restraint and bombast. In its quieter and more reflective moments, vocalist Tyler Heath bleats “when I saw my demons, I knew them well and welcomed them” over a morose, organ-like accordion pad and sister Maggie remorses about stealing from her father “all I thought I could sell” over a playful, winding acoustic lead. In these moments, you’re next to the Heath siblings, enveloped by their accessible storytelling and their perfect melodies/delivery. But before you know it, a fire in their bellies roars in with wordless gang-vocals, rapid hand-clapping, cymbal clashing and cautionary bellows of “there is no courage in flirting with fear to prove you’re alive!” No different than the intoxicating lull of their daintier moments, The Oh Hellos are right at home churning out infectious, foot-stomping anthems destined to define long summer road trips and energetic live shows alike.

Then again, there is the track ‘Second Child, Restless Child’ which is a frustrating amble into the worst parts of Mumford-land, and the metaphor-murdering Switchfoot b-side ‘I Have Made Mistakes’, but they’re easily overlooked in the light of the absolutely perfect dynamic of ‘Like the Dawn’ and the lyrically masterful ‘In Memoriam’. Maggie and Tyler have a knack for writing some of the most invasive melodies I’ve heard and marrying them to both provocative lyrics and powerful arrangements. Through the Deep, Dark Valley is an album worth listening to from front to back, in ceaseless repetition -- a piece of music that benefits you more each time you visit it, and one that will make you feel unfaithful when you start playing it less. Inevitably, some people will struggle to initially distinguish it from music of the same ilk, but I hold a firm belief that The Oh Hellos have not only released one of the best albums of 2012, but one that should raise the proverbial bar for anybody interested in making melody-heavy “folk-pop” (whatever the hell that is). This is a stand-bearer.

And did I mention it was free?

Recommended tracks: ‘Like the Dawn’, ‘The Lament of Eustace Scrubb’, ‘The Truth Is a Cave’



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user ratings (26)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
Nathan Taft (4.5)
One of the best unrecognized records of 2012...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Waior
August 29th 2013



11420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Free music worth your ears, hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Name your price: http://theohhellos.com/album/through-the-deep-dark-valley

‘Like the Dawn’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd9vh89To4M

‘The Lament of Eustace Scrubb’:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHlTMxBzguI

It’s also worth saying that the only truly entitled remark they make about themselves is that they’re from “the heart of Texas” (and to be fair, they are from the only good part of the state).

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2013



3008 Comments


well look who's back

Digging: Todd Terje - It's Album Time

Waior
August 29th 2013



11420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i'm never really back

just doing my annual due diligence

TooManyFriends
August 29th 2013



388 Comments


Cover art might be one of my favorites ever

CK
August 29th 2013



4529 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Welcome back but http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/54801/The-Oh-Hellos-Through-The-Deep%2C-Dark-Valley/

MikeDominguez
August 29th 2013



6 Comments


Nice band, diggin' them, pos'd

PunchforPunch
August 30th 2013



5290 Comments


this guy should stop writing

Digging: Vril - Torus

Waior
August 30th 2013



11420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sure

Waior
August 30th 2013



11420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

now the artists have been merged?

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2013



9468 Comments


Haior

Digging: Koan Sound - Dynasty

Waior
August 30th 2013



11420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

aior

Brabiz
November 8th 2013



82 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fantastic album

Waior
November 18th 2013



11420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hey i just covered 'wishing well' off this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YEUFiD5U6Zc

dig it



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