Valleyheart
Heal My Head


4.3
superb

Review

by Mathias STAFF
June 8th, 2022 | 61 replies


Release Date: 2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: When all I am is a miracle

I’m one of those Christians who doesn't really know why I’m Christian. I grew up vaguely Catholic and my family stopped attending church fairly young, but, for whatever reason, I found myself drawn back into it as an adult. If I’m being completely honest with myself, part of that is certainly due to my love for seminal Christian alternative label Tooth & Nail Records, a fact that is as truthful as it is embarrassing. No matter how much I try to reason with myself, no matter how many doubts I have or however many times I question my faith, I just can’t stop believing in God. The closest I’ve ever come to losing my faith was after my dad died. People kept telling me that he was still with us, still watching over us, and that just made me feel worse - I knew for a fact that it would be more Hell than Heaven for my dad to see my family and I living our lives but not being able to be a part of it. Whenever milestones around my dad’s life come up, I find myself being drawn more back to my spiritual beliefs. My dad’s 63rd birthday was June 5th. Heal My Head, Valleyheart’s gripping analysis of faith and doubt, was released on June 3rd and has become the soundtrack of much of my processing and questioning.

Without a doubt, the lyrics are the highlight of Valleyheart sophomore album. They are the ideal blend between impactful but vague lyrical stylings of the “We’re Christians in a band” phenomenon, a la Anberlin or Copeland, but also don’t try to hide the fact that what they're singing is about Christianity and their experience with it. The band denies being a Christian band or even that their music is necessarily about Christianity, but there are obvious spiritual themes and much of the band’s content is inspired by their experience in the Christian faith growing up. It is, in my opinion and experience, a more realistic view of faith and religion, one that questions, that doubts, that wonders how and why we suffer, that can’t comprehend how life exists in the way that it does.

Some songs are more blatantly based in the band’s, and particularly lead singer Kevin Klein’s, experience with Christian beliefs. One such song is “Miracle”, where Valleyheart present that, no matter what you believe, the fact that we all exist is “. . . a miracle/Of cosmic chance/A goddamn miracle/Held by the hands of no master plan." On the title track there are blatant pleas and prayers to some benevolent being for help, but also a fear of abandonment from that being. There is not a single song on Heal My Head that doesn’t raise these questions and therefore that doesn’t sound inherently human, no matter the belief system that a person might hold. Perhaps the biggest miracle regarding this album is that it’s an album with Christian themes that sounds like it was made by real people that you could meet at a church or a grocery store or through mutual friends - It sounds more real and human than many other artists who may try to tackle the same themes. Lyrics like “Part of my head just needs someone, why do I keep these weird desires? Pulling my conscious back and forth, I’ll spend my whole left in the indecision.” may have a different meaning to everyone who reads them, but they will almost undoubtedly have a meaning.

Sonically, Valleyheart seem to have clearly been Tooth & Nail fans in the early 2000s as well. Their freshman album, “Everyone I’ve Ever Loved”, had a combination of indie-rock and post-hardcore leanings. Heal My Head abandons their heavier stylings, embracing those indie-rock and Midwest Emo vibes, creating a warm, welcoming sound that calls to mind early Copeland, From Indian Lakes, and, perhaps most clearly, early Death Cab for Cutie - Songs like “Your Favorite Jacket”, “Warning Signs”, and “Carousel” wouldn’t sound too out of place on Transatlanticism or Plans, while the choruses from “The Numbers” and the title track could be straight from 2003, while managing to not feel derivative. While there are certainly points in the album where the sound gets a little too smooth and some variety would be welcome, the near cinematic atmosphere is engaging enough to keep interest. While there aren’t necessarily any musical moments that will blow listeners away (with the possible exception of the climax of “The Days”), every song creates exactly the atmosphere and feeling that was intended.

Ultimately, no matter whatever critiques may exist of Valleyheart’s newest record, it has been awhile since an album has made me feel as grounded as Heal My Head. It takes feelings of faith that I struggle with, that have essentially been constant since the passing of my father, and puts them into a package that is allowing me to process them even just a little bit more than I was before, which I am incredibly grateful for. Valleyheart takes what are bigger, larger than life concepts and makes them small and relatable without removing the gravity that accompanies them. I am, admittedly, viewing them through a largely Christian viewpoint, but what is wonderful is that they don’t have to be. Valleyheart aren’t trying to preach and, ultimately, these songs may actually end up having the opposite effect on me - I have no idea if this new round of processing that Heal My Head partially inspired is going to make my faith stronger or weaker, and I think that’s absolutely beautiful.



s
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user ratings (83)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
dmathias52
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2022


1799 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Have you heard about our lord and savior Jesus Christ. This is a must listen for any former (or current) Christian rock kids

Feedback is welcome here, tried to balance the personal with the objective

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2022


4539 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

absolutely love this review! spinning this now and loving it... some of these choruses remind me of Relient K

LightAndGlass
June 8th 2022


1235 Comments


This might be a little too sad boy for me. I feel like I should have my head pressed against the car window, staring out into the rain while listening to half of these songs. I really dig Carousel though.

Cormano
June 8th 2022


4170 Comments


this is relevant to my interests

AlexTM510
June 8th 2022


1471 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this review felt super relevant to me, amazing review. I have gone through a deconstruction/reconstruction of faith over the last few years. However, the core tenents in God is something I can't shake either as it's been ingrained into my being since I was young. And this album does operate in that grey of questioning/exploring in a really mature manner. I can't stop jamming it.

BigTuna
June 8th 2022


5907 Comments


Lovely, personal review. I just discovered this band last week, so I'm excited to dig into this one!

Nbehre11
June 8th 2022


292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lovely read, lovely album. Cheers!

Pho3nix
June 8th 2022


1619 Comments


Just here to give my +1 to the review

efp123
June 9th 2022


276 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

On track three, and it is sounding great so far. Sorry to hear about your father dude. Nice review

efp123
June 9th 2022


276 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is very good… I only disliked a couple tracks

dmathias52
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2022


1799 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Appreciate the kind words about the review and happy to hear that people are enjoying this. I feel like this is a style that has gone out style but that I’ve been craving a bit recently. It hits the spot perfectly

LotionLord
June 9th 2022


172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Love the album but I can't help but feel like Tooth & Nail neutered this band. The indie-rock/post-hardcore leanings you mentioned from the first album I absolutely loved and they're almost completely gone here. The only time they really unleash is the last chorus of the title track, which is coincidentally the best moment of the whole record.



Great review, and I agree the lyrics are what really make this band stand out. Also the cover art might be one of the best I've ever seen.

henryChinaski
June 9th 2022


5048 Comments


this is pretty good. Need to give it a few more spins, currently a 3.5 for me

Purpl3Spartan
June 9th 2022


8695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Really awesome review man

gravityswitch
June 9th 2022


1939 Comments


oh shit a new Valleyheart! First album was good and teir Sufjan Stevens cover was awesome, need to check that asap
efit: and beautiful review my friend.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2022


27975 Comments


wonderful and poignant review

I love that Tooth and Nail still exists (and that they can now drop F bombs while talking about being a miracle of God)

alexslavco
June 9th 2022


200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Choruses on 3-4 songs are absolute bangers

Bilbodabag
June 9th 2022


165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I am really enjoying this and I haven't even looked at the lyrics yet

YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2022


18908 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wonderful and honest review, halfway through this and really enjoying it

Teal
June 10th 2022


603 Comments


I love the personal touch to the review. I can definitely relate with you. I'll have to check this album out.



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