Published Sep 05, 2014Valery Gore's long awaited follow-up to 2008's excellent Avalanche To Wandering Bear expands upon the enthralling, sophisticated, jazzy pop of the Toronto songwriter's previous efforts, introducing a fresh palette of sonic textures and an increased emphasis on the carefully phrased melodies enunciated by the silken caress of the multi-talented musician's ever-so-slightly smoky voice. Idols In The Dark Heart is full of subtly beguiling rhythmic complexity, bewitching turns of phrase and distinctively picturesque arrangements that enrich her more universally digestible pop instincts, which are pushed to the forefront on tracks like the relatively straightforward synth pop of "Lungs."
Elsewhere, such as on album opener "With the Future" and the hypnotic, instantly addictive "Hummingbird In Reverse," Gore, with the aid of her first-rate band (including co-producer Devon Henderson), adroitly experiments with layers of loops and percussion, imbuing each song with impressive character. Speaking of character, with its plaintive piano work, swooning strings and ethereal melody, mid-album knockout "Character Girls, Quiet Guys" is among the most stunningly beautiful pieces of music ever recorded. A gloriously realized ecosystem of sound and lyrical musing on the messy substance of human emotion, Idols In The Dark Heart is one of the year's best. (Independent)