Review: Valaska – “Thing”

Valaska, an indie acoustic band from Chicago, IL, released their sophomore full length album Thing on February 24th.

Valaska Band PicDave Valdez began as a singer-songwriter act, releasing a self-titled EP under the name Valaska in 2010. This EP was produced and recorded by Aaron Marsh of the band Copeland.

In 2012, Valdez and Marsh teamed up once again, and Valaska’s full length debut Natural Habitat was released in March 2013.

Thing was produced and engineer by Valaska, mixed by Matt Holmes, and released independently earlier this week.

The band’s style is often compared to Bright Eyes, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Decemberists., and I would say Dave Valdez’s breezy storytelling style also hints at David Bazan.

The Valaska lineup is:

Matt Holmes: Drums/Guitar/Keys
Zach Porlier: Bass
Dave Valdez: Vocals/Guitar/Piano
with James Young providing additional vocals on this album.


Thing is a low-key album,  very ambient, and often with a cinematic feel – especially in “Re-Animator.” The laid-back opening track “Espejismo” makes me want to get outside and road trip through the mountains. There’s something relaxing and free-spirited about the sound.

Each track feels very intimate and stripped down, allowing Valdez’s voice and poetry to stay in focus. Also, some impressive background harmonies appear, such as in “Epoch.”

My favorite part of this album is the lyrical craftsmanship of Dave Valdez. More than once at the end of a song I would catch myself repeating a line out loud, just because I loved the sound of it. An example is, “you’re livid ’cause your love/ keeps wearing off like some beginner’s luck” from the folk-ier “Common Sense.”

Standout tracks for me include the indie rock gem “Fair to Say,” the dramatic, piano-driven “Ink,” and I basically can’t get enough of “Collecting Rocks.”

Some listeners may find Thing a little bit too sleepy of an album with its uber chill approach, but to fans of the genre, Valaska provides a solid collection of well crafted pairings of poetry and musical retreat.

Valaska’s compelling lyricism and subtle musical artistry make for an overall charming indie record in Thing.

       Thing Tracklist

  1. Espejismo
  2. Fair to Say
  3. Epoch
  4. Common Sense
  5. Re-Animator
  6. Wabasha
  7. Somewhere New
  8. Collecting Rocks
  9. Ink



Learn more about the band by visiting www.valaskamusic.com

or checking them out on Facebook.

You can purchase Thing and the previous albums at  http://valaska.bandcamp.com/ and iTunes


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