Looking for technically superior Prog-Rock? Perhaps you’re more in need of infectious Pop-Rock? Maybe you hanker for weedy, angular college Indie? Then you need not apply here, for Valley of the Sun are a straight-shooting, unpretentious band that prefers to summon the spirit of desert rock heroes Kyuss on this gutsy record, marrying it with elements from 60’s and 70’s hard-rock.
Though this Ohio-based outfit aren’t re-inventing the wheel there’s still much to respect on ‘The Sayings of the Seers’ their second release to date. From its groove-laden, mountain-sized riffs through to its tight, steadfast rhythm section. Guitarist/Vocalist Ryan Terrier has a soulful tone to his voice that undeniably recalls John Garcia (not a bad thing when you consider he is one of the greatest Rock vocalists of the last 20 years) but he’s also able to change things up during the more introspective moments of this record, with vague hints of Scott Weiland or Layne Stayley coming to mind. On the stomping ‘Aquarius’, Terrier flirts with these Garcia-style tones but the chorus is reserved for a melodious harmony that surely takes its cue from Cream.
This band likes to keep things varied, veering clear of stoner-rock stagnation, changing tempos and occasionally changing tact. The aforementioned ‘Aquarius’, for example, ends via some nice acoustic work that sounds natural rather than forced. Likewise, they understand when to let loose and when to reign things in within their classic guitar/bass/drums power trio line-up. ‘Mariner’s Tale’ divebombs into action with fiery riffs and a robust, Bonham-esque rhythm but rather than continuing with pedal to the metal, the band segues this track into a hazy, tripped-out segment with the guitar taking command, the whole piece reminding of the trance-like bliss via ferocious intensity of Karma To Burn. I’d wager this one goes down a storm around the clubs of their native Cincinnati.
This troupe refreshingly avoid the needless histrionics or show-boating that dogs certain bands in and around the Rock idiom, yet they’re far from workman-like too. Though a feeling lingers that their vision isn’t quite complete on this 5-track record, those who are willing to dismiss Valley of the Sun as mere copyists are missing the point. More importantly, they’re missing a fine, hard-rocking band. ‘The Sayings of the Seers’ has more than enough in its locker to recruit those that missed the ride first time around.
This article also appears on Exploding In Sound