Valleys Handlebar, Toronto ON, June 13

Valleys Handlebar, Toronto ON, June 13
Photo: Matthew Ritchie
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Montreal-based dream-pop duo Valleys surprised newcomers to the Handlebar on Wednesday night with their brand of cavernous-sounding dreamscapes. Playing a minimalist set with just a pair of MicroKorgs, a sampler, Stratocaster and a few pedals, the enigmatic partnership of beat generator Tillie Parks and guitarist Marc St. Louis wowed the crowd almost immediately as the band surged through tracks off their recent Kanine Records debut Are You Going to Stand There and Talk Weird All Night. Coming across as a more subdued Sleigh Bells and less dance-y Handsome Furs, Valleys were able to provide heaps of energy in their haunting, industrial vignettes. As the red lights of the group's sampler ticked away, Parks unleashed heavy bass and twinkling keys from her synthesizer, all the while supported by St. Louis's "November Rain"-meets-Kevin Shields guitar solos. At times, the group's echoing guitarist would come across a little too hedonistic, getting caught up in his instrument's limitless possibilities when accompanied by a delay pedal. But if the band's new track "Hounds" is any indication, when properly reined in, Valleys can be as punishing as the rest of them.