Whether it be with our friends, family, loved ones, or within ourselves art should incite conversation. Valleyheart is looking to inspire this kind of dialogue with their latest release, Heal My Head on Tooth & Nail Records. For those unfamiliar with Valleyheart, they are an alt rock trio hailing from Massachusetts blending layers of cinematic alt rock, lyrical eloquence, and dynamic vocals that fit alongside bands like Salt Creek and My Epic.
The album opens with “Birth” which serves as a bit of an intro to ease the listener into what is to come from the album as a whole. As an intro the track works well, but it’s transition into the following track feels abrupt and out of place. However, once “The Numbers” begins you quickly forget the somewhat awkward transition that just occurred. “The Numbers” served as the album’s lead single and introduction to the Tooth & Nail roster. It is upbeat and showcases some the previously mentioned lyrical eloquence. The chorus is chantable and is sure to stick with you well beyond the culmination of the track/album. “The Numbers” is followed by “Miracle” (the album’s third single) which keeps the eloquent lyrical aesthetic, but is not as upbeat. The band goes deep with lines like “And I see it all in dismal imagery/Sounds and the sights as they hang on over me/And the faces of all the pedestrians/The strangers I pass that look like friends.”
The album’s title track “Heal My Head” brings back an upbeat vibe that makes this one another catchy piece. The hook showcases the cinematic layering a bit and carries a slight semblance of a pop aesthetic in the vein of Owl City. “Vampire Smile” follows and feels like it could have been a track from Valleyheart’s previous full length Everyone I’ve Ever Loved. It almost feels out of place here, but it taps in to a shoegaze vibe that blends well with [Kevin] Klein’s vocals. “Your Favorite Jacket” keeps the shoegaze vibe, but in more of an upbeat aspect (similar to Starflyer 59’s Everybody Makes Mistakes album). As the album’s second single it carries a strong alt rock accessibility and has a strong Death Cab For Cutie vibe and closes out the first half of the album.
The second half kicks off with “Back & Forth” which is followed by “Warning Signs.” Both tracks are solid and keep the somewhat staggered pacing that has been prominent on the first half of the album. “Warning Signs” has the ability to be a strong single (if more are released) and if put into rotation is sure to become a crowd favorite live. “Ceiling” follows and feels like it serves more as an interlude than a full track. This is mainly based on the length of the track as it is the third shortest track on the album. It’s dreamy and could/would work well as an instrumental piece as well.
The album starts to come to a close with “Carousel” which carries a slower tempo, but magnificently displays the consistent lyrical eloquence that has been a mainstay on the entire album. “The Days” serves as the final “full” track on the album and slows the tempo even more than it’s preceding track while rounding out the album as a whole both musically and lyrically. This would have been an excellent close to the album, however, “6:26” serves as an instrumental close to the album. To some it may seem like an afterthought, but it fits nicely still with the flow of the rest of the album.
As a whole, Heal My Head is a brilliant and well rounded piece of art that is almost flawless (minus the abrupt/odd transition at the beginning). If this is your first encounter with Valleyheart you are in for a remarkable journey. If you’re an established fan of the band you are still in for a magnificent treat. Heal My Head is sure to hang around and will very likely be seen on several “Best of 2022” lists,
Heal My Head is available now on all major streaming platforms or can purchase a physical copy (CD or vinyl) through the Tooth & Nail webstore.