Infused with shades of Kings of Leon, The Killers, and even David Bowie, Death Valley Dreams self titled EP is full of alternative glory.
The album kicks off with “Words Like Fire” which features dark vocals from lead singer Nick Coyle and a new wave, electronic sound that sounds like it belongs in the 80s while still maintaining a modern edge. “All f*cked up/Nowhere to go,” Coyle sings energetically on a perfectly catchy chorus that soars and sets a very high standard for the rest of the EP. In conjuring some Bowie vibes as Coyle snarls “Words like fire underneath your breath” one can’t help but swoon a bit. This starting track really lights a fire under listeners seats, and while it is definitely the best track on the album, the rest of the EP measures up pretty well.
Following up, “The Darker Years” comes dancing right out of the gate with a cacophony of sound that has a bit of Kings of Leon “Use Somebody” feel. Coyle definitely packs a punch with his staccato vocals on the verses and then a smooth sailing vocal gliding on the post punk chorus mixed with new wave. “You said you’d wait for me in the darker years,” Coyle expresses which basically sums up the entire song. A layering effect towards the end of the track adds depth to the tune and helps to add something a little something extra to an already memorable song.
In a more mellow tone, “Turn Out Those Eyes,” again has another catchy chorus, but it is the verses where the track really shines as Coyle repeatedly calls out “I’m falling.” The melody on the verses contribute to help the song standout on the EP, really delving into a new wave and rock sound. Because of the change of the pace, listeners are able to appreciate everything that came before while taking in the beauty that is “Turn Out Those Eyes,” which is a standout among a superb lineup.
“Take a Look at Yourself” oddly enough has a Bruce Springsteen feel in a way, and that may be because of the soaring and anthem like chorus. Not surprisingly because of this vibe the song could also find itself easily settled onto The Killers Sam’s Town. While the new wave sound is never really absent there are some elements of post punk here which give the track a slight edge that is greatly welcomed. At just over five minutes, it never drags as Death Valley Dreams keeps listeners engaged from the first note, something that the band continually does throughout the album.
Ending the EP is “Never Meant for Anyone” which has the most experimental feel on the entire record. There is an ambient vibe in its instrumentation and Coyle’s seductive vocal stylings with an echoed space like effect, furthering that Bowie comparison, really help end the album on a consistent note. It’s the closest thing to a true ballad and it is a welcome change of pace, even if all the songs that came before have been a winners. We dig a little deeper here as Coyle solemnly cries “We were never meant for anyone else.”
Death Valley Dreams have definitely set the bar high for their next release, but that certainly is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s only something that the band can aspire to live up to. One thing is for sure, after one listen to this album, fans will be clamoring for more.