Montreal duo Valleys stuff a lot of different sounds, genres, and techniques into their new LP, the page-stretchingly titled Are You Going To Stand There And Talk Weird All Night?. The album is a jigsaw puzzle of Marc St. Louis’ rich, booming vocals, Matilda Perks’ lofty coos, chilly electro-pop, house beats, and new wave synths. Although a stormcloud hangs uniformly over the set, it’s not enough to make some of the pieces fit together.
Each song on Are You Going To Stand There… could stand on its own, the introduction to some other album. The feedback and guitar- driven “Us” works into a syrupy shoegaze drip, while “See The Moon” oozes with ’80s noir. Opener “Micromoving” slowly expands with St. Louis’ baritone and somber delivery forcing a comparison to a glacier-bound National, immediately followed by the droning beats and Perks’ whisper-wing flow on “Hounds”.
The album was inspired by death and loss in the duo’s lives, and when the lyrics emerge from the icy dark, they show bruises and scars. “Now we spin our wheels in the places we know too well,” St. Louis calls on album standout “Absolutely Everything All The Time”, Perks joining in on the chorus to insist that you don’t let your family down. “See The Moon?” follows, somehow fusing Xiu Xiu confessionals and bracing, fuzzy chords with a strict pop beat.
But that alchemy is hard to come by, as evidenced by the scattered sounds and structures that surround it. Songs like “Before” are the norm, stuffing diffident beats, hazy chillwave synths, and stretches of empty set electronica into a single song. Moments within each song make sense, songs on the album make sense, but these are moments that feel disconnected from their surroundings.
Essential Tracks: “Absolutely Everything All The Time”, “See The Moon?”