Published Jul 05, 2018Vallens are a virtuous source of gothic rock resurrection.
Dimmed In My Display is a Robert Smith meltdown built back up via Robyn Phillip's buttery vocals, circular guitar tours and Marta Cikojevic's piano riffs, reminiscent of Goosebumps-era horror, the keys ringing as if played in an empty room. Pulses of anxiety are channelled through melodrama, approached in a cinematic concession that feels like being hunted by a villain — only the villain is the weight of time passing.
The title track begins menacingly — an alarm bell urging evacuation — until Phillip's vocals sink through like a tumbled gem, relieving us before she reveals, "I'm not going anywhere." Distress signals tell of claustrophobia — the lack of space necessary for movement, to or from — and therefore a desperate need for expansion. This paralysis haunts, and creates a hook the EP will hinge on: "It's been a year and nothing's changed."
While Dimmed in My Display stands on its own two feet — and stands tall — my own preference for a sublimation of angst via absurdity as opposed to the more sentimental approach of Vallens created a dissonance I couldn't bridge. Vallens, however, bridge that gap with a killer energy on stage; their live shows are not to be missed. (Hand Drawn Dracula)