We listened to VALLEY’s new EP ‘sucks to see you doing better’ – and here’s why you should too!

If you’re looking for some new music to dress the sleeves of your heart with, then VALLEY’s new EP sucks to see you doing better is the colour of the week!

In fact, if this EP were a colour, I’d describe it as indigo with meteor streaks of ocean blue…

Since their formation in 2016, this indie pop/indie rock group comprising members Rob Laska (vocals), Michael Brandolino (guitar), Alex Dimauro (bass) and Karah James (drums) have amassed nearly 49 million streams on Spotify alone for their self-written and self-produced music, including their EP ‘This Room Is White’ and 2019 debut album ‘MAYBE’, the latter of which features popular single ‘There’s Still A Light in The House’. On Spotify, this song has had close to 16 million streams. Recently released singles such as ‘hiccup’ and ‘nevermind’ have to date, received about a million streams each on Spotify.

This October the band released their latest EP ‘sucks to see you doing better’ – an EP which also features current hits ‘‘hiccup’ and ‘nevermind’.

Also read: INTERVIEW: Falling in love with a VALLEY of songs

There is certainly an iridescent and almost Hipstamatic-like nostalgia to VALLEY’s songs. Fresh and upbeat in an indie pop sort of way, yet vibrating with this nostalgic glow of colours – like a 80s filter with those grainy vignettes markings.

I took a closer look at the six tracks featured in this new EP.

sucks to see you doing better

The title track is a clear favourite. Cool beat drops and syncopated-like rhythm brings the listener right into the song while the drop beat hooks you in. Albeit the title and lyrics which draws light on the somewhat secret “envious” sentiment that one might feel in broken relationships (I guess we’re all only human after all), I just love the serotonins that this song brings with it. Yes, a bit of an oxymoron between feeling shitty and feeling good at the same time, but hey! There’s a huge part of the chorus that goes: “You’re doing better than me I admit it. Found someone better than me and I get it. You’re better off and I’m worse than ever, Sucks to see you doing better. You’re doing better than me and I hate it. Found someone better than me and I’m devastated. You’re better off and I’m lost forever. Sucks to see you doing better.” When you really dive deeper into the lyrics, you feel their heartbreaking sentiments just overflowing. Yet you can help but want to dance and sing out loud to the song. In terms of “break-up songs”, this one is a banger! We’re absolutely loving the bass lines on this track too!

nevermind

Clearly another gem. I’m not surprised that this song has over 1.5 million streams on Spotify since its single release merely three months ago. I adore the colours and textures in this sound so much. It feels like the kind of song that you would blast out loud on your Sony Walkman (yes! Those 80s/90s devices!) while jumping on the bed – without a care in the world. There is also a sort of dreamer-like (or misunderstood) perspective of the “protagonist” or main character of this song. You sort of connect with him. Colour or tone-wise, this is also the exact Hipstamatic photo effect – the fresh yet nostalgic element that I was talking about earlier. If this song was a drink, I’d order it from the bar! Another favourite!

Homebody

A lighter piece. Again another track that you could put on repeat over and over again. The song is exquisitely addictive – music on the car radio, window open, kind of addictive. The pop-ish familiarity is deeply comforting as much as its lyrics. I’ve been listening to this piece a few times already on repeat trying to rack my brain who they sound like. Perhaps that was their plan all along… 😉 Lyrically, the poignant almost resigned feelings in the song are very relatable…

Be The One

This is a fun and catchy track. The beats and layers do seem to accentuate the song too. There is also youthful charisma to the lyrics (that talk of relationship) that I reckon would attract the younger Gen Z crowd more. It feels like the kind of coming of age, head over heels, wide-eyed journey of falling in love that we all go through at some point in our early lives.

hiccup

This song exudes so much indie pop. It’s the perfect kind of music that you would hear at a cool, yet somewhat underground music venue – and think – “Woah… who is this band? I’m actually really digging their stuff…” In fact, the more I listen to this song – the more I love it! It is definitely my favourite song after ‘sucks to see you doing better’. Lyrically, ‘hiccup’ also sounds like the prelude to ‘sucks to see you doing better where at the end of this EP you’re thinking – “Oh no, please don’t go (back) there…” Heartbreak is real, guys! Being the romantic (and dreamer) that I am, I guess my favourite part of the song goes like this  – “Like that night we had in Toronto. When you pulled me up to that roof. And we played God with the people below us in their toy cars. I would be lying if I wasn’t before.” 

hiccup (Acoustic)

Similarly to the feelings above, but just more intimate and placid, like autumn leaves when they dance in the breeze…

Indeed, what’s extremely interesting about VALLEY’s sound is how they exude qualities quite like some popular bands and music artists – think The 1975, The Vamps, Lawson, and Lauv. There is the freshness and pop music element that you could imagine screaming and singing the lyrics out loud to at a big venue gig.

Yet, their indie pop element is extremely strong as well. I’m thinking The Japanese House, Summer Salt, Weathers, lovelytheband, well you get the idea…

In essence, their songs bring to mind that of Ed Sheeran back when he released his You Need Me EP in 2009 or even his lesser popular Loose Change album in 2011. There’s a certain “je ne sais quoi” element – where you realised that it’s indie, but then again you also feel that it’s going to go big one day!

Perhaps one of the most underrated bands and my favourite discoveries yet!

Can’t wait to see them live if they ever tour to Asia!

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