Published Aug 19, 2014You'd expect a band that describes its sound as "sex wave, dark duet" and its record as "David Lynch-esque sensuality draped in Boho chic" to take itself a smidge less seriously than In The Valley Below do on their debut album, The Belt — or maybe not.
They showed major promise and garnered considerable buzz for their Peaches EP, released in September of last year, not to mention remixes from both Passion Pit and Kele Okereke. Thankfully, all of their previous material, such as early hits "Peaches" and "Neverminders," finds itself on their first full-length, because they're the record's saving grace. At its best, The Belt sounds like a poor attempt at a modern electro-pop-rock version of Fleetwood Mac, and at its worst like a bad Coldplay song. While the record is innocuous at first, it fails to enchant with repeat listens. Not only do lyrics such as "you're kissing me like a kitty cat, electricity in your fur," from album low-point "Searching For A Devil," make no sense whatsoever, they're also annoyingly grating, and prompt you to rewind in the hopes you heard incorrectly.
Making this record all the more disappointing is the fact that no outside hands had any play in its making: The Belt was wholly written, recorded and produced by co-vocalists Angela Gail and Jeffrey Jacob. Given their blandness, you could easily imagine any of these songs on the radio, fitting right into the current "indie/not-indie" landscape. But for a band that tries so hard to work, in their words, "within their non-traditional pop aesthetic," why would they want to? (Arts & Crafts)