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The Valery Trails - Buffalo Speedway (Review)

The Valery Trails, Buffalo Speedway

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE Valery Trails’ sophomore album Buffalo Speedway marks arguably the biggest success of Andrew Bower’s career to date.

The 11 songs that comprise the LP were found when Bower came across an old box with demo tapes in it and then convinced his fellow band members to join him in Brisbane (from the USA) to re-record the tracks. It goes some way to explaining why the alt-rock tracks have a classic, older school vibe about them.

Hence, some draw on Bower’s love for the late ’80s post-punk scene, and most notably bands like The Cure, while others have a more contemporary edge that draw comparisons with the likes of Nada Surf.

Most of the songs come steeped in toe-tapping melodies and are defined by catchy guitar hooks, as well as Bower’s lived in vocals.

Highlights include the utterly infectious In Your Heart, which combines an instantly head-nodding back-beat with some almost indie guitar hooks that resemble (vaguely) the heyday of the Stone Roses era. Put together with Bower’s gritty, yet hushed vocals, it makes for a potent cocktail.

Hollywoodland has a more laidback, slacker vibe akin to the likes of Psychedelic Furs (circa Pretty in Pink, while Children inflicts the guitar sound with a kooky organ melody that slides in and out playfully.

Waiting drops another of those more alt-rock slacker vibes akin to Dinosaur Jr or Nada Surf and is a great track to just kick back and enjoy on a lazy day, especially instrumentally, but with a vocal that sounds amplified as if sung through a vocoder or something.

Fragment Hanging rocks its way into your subconscious in fine fashion (with more classic riffs), There Is Love blatantly lifts from The Cure’s seminal Close To Me instrumentally (and could almost be a cover until the lyrics take it in a different direction), and Black And White has a beautifully sombre tone to it that, again, takes its cues from The Cure – but some of their more melancholy work. It’s dark but hypnotic.

Put together, this is a mighty fine listen from a band that deserves to find a much wider exposure.

Listen to Hollywoodland

Download picks: In Your Heart, Hollywoodland, Waiting, There Is Love, Black and White

Track listing:

  1. Starsong
  2. In Your Heart
  3. Hollywoodland
  4. Children
  5. Waiting
  6. Buffalo Speedway
  7. Fragment Hanging
  8. There Is Love
  9. Black and White
  10. For As Long As It Lasts
  11. Rise and Fall