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There really couldn’t be a more fitting title for Vales’ debut album. ‘Wilt & Rise,’ these two words manage to perfectly capture what the band seems to manage simultaneously in their music, beauty mixed with decay. It could be tortured vocals against a soothing guitar line, or a sweet melody surrounded by chaos, whichever way it happens, this is the core element of the record.
There is something calming in points during opener ‘Dead Wood’, the spacious guitar strumming and relaxed drum lines, which quickly change into the polar opposite, grating screams and fast paced punk blast beats. This is then settled, in a way, further with follower ‘Scripted’, rolling drums lines and waves of breathtaking guitars, which float along pulled back down by broken screams. The band really is trying to create landscapes with this track and they succeed ten fold.
This idea is continued with ‘Survival’, the guitars keep things bright and positive while the vocals, which work towards this idea, bring things back towards something grittier, especially with the subject matter, screams of "I am decaying" as the song builds up set the perfect tone for the broken beauty of the track.
This leads to the break in the mid point of the record, ‘Katrina’, obvious but well placed as a form of respite from the rest of the album, this instrumental track is a swirling mix of delayed guitars leading up to another explosion of screams and distortion in ‘Branches’.
The album ends as it begins completing some kind of full circle leaving the mid-point as north on its compass weirdly enough. ‘Wildfire‘ is slow and dragging yet probably one of the heavier moments on the record, while closer ‘Waterfalls’ picks up the pace sounding literally like a sped up version of its predecessor allowing for a small percussive and string tangle in its mid-section that injects a little groove.
‘Wilt & Rise’ is a great debut because it explains the unique vibe of Vales’ music in detail, without overstaying its welcome. The way the band make the light and dark work in conjunction with each other is commendable and refreshing, Vales are certainly a band to watch.
1. Dead Wood
3. Open Arms
7. White Horse