Vallens’ new four-song EP Dimmed In My Display is hypnotic, intoxicating and evocative, and no matter how many times I listen to it, I come out the other side of its roughly 16-minute-long journey feeling dazed and full of wonder. Stream the EP a week before its release via the CBC Music player. Pre-order the album here.
Listening to Dimmed In My Display is a rigorous experience — one that is both physically and emotionally engaging, a call and response between the head and the heart. Crashing drums, foreboding beats, hauntingly delicate piano, torrents of fuzzy guitar, and shimmering and crunchy distortions form the foundation of the EP; the tracks shifting constantly — bruising and relentless, danceable and warm, funereal and sparse.
On one listen, it’s easy to imagine lying on your back under the stars, with that feeling of watching the sky race so fast that you become hyper aware of your stillness, that time is always leaving you behind. On another listen, the EP becomes the sonic manifestation of the slow realization that the new sense of calm you’re feeling is actually absence, a glimpse of “normality” after a week or month or year of choking on your anxiety. It’s the constant juxtaposition of tension and relief, and it’s disconcerting yet peaceful, because you’re moving through, not suspended in the midst.
Dimmed In My Display is the followup to Vallens’ debut album Consent, and it’s a provocative and powerful work from an emerging band that’s less interested in upholding the status quo of any genre, let alone the shoegaze they’re normally shuffled into. If this EP is any indication, they’re moving into something deeper and weirder for their sophomore album, and it’s thrilling.
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