Last July Vanish Valley released their self-titled debut album. The creative work of Andrew McAllister, Vanish Valley was recorded using instruments picked up at thrift stores as well as just put together any way he knew how. The result is a folksy-country album with a few hints of psychedelic influence.
For the most part the album reminds of the work Eddie Vedder did for the soundtrack to Into the Wild. The music is all somber and slow-tempoed but even for the melancholy feel of the songs, they do have a light quality to them. A ray of hope in the underlying gloom of being a loner surrounded by women you probably can’t have.
Vocally, I compare McAllister to a mix between Tom Petty and Canadian rapper Buck 65. McAllister’s voice is low and gravely; there are times when he sounds like he’s just talking and it’s a dead ringer for Buck 65. When he sings, he sounds more like Petty; undoubtedly because he is performing the country/folk rock style that Petty has been known to dabble in.
The album touches on psychedelia only in brief moments. The opening track “Bad Things” does contain an instrument that sounds like a sitar playing that typical music you hear when you think of India and yoga. Other than that, the only place I find the psychedelic sound to come back is on the track “Blood of The Famous”. Here, we go from an entirely folksy acoustic song to a bridge with loud, wavy electric guitar. The guitar fades off to a sound of an electric organ playing one note which eventually trails off. It’s sort of like experiencing the shortest peyote trip imaginable.
Overall, the tracks don’t jump out at you, beating you into submission. More likely, you’ll have to sit down and give them a chance. The music has a way sucking you in when you give it some attention. Its soft, its intimate, and it is pleasing to listen to. The songs average about two and a half minutes each, but by the end of the album you feel as though the music is just lagging. This might be a result of McAllister writing and recording simultaneously. He would just pick up an instrument and see where it led him. Creativity in such a way works well as a stepping off point, but it would be nice to hear something that was more polished in the end.