Wednesday, September 23, 2009

CD Review: The Valley Downs - Behemoth E.P.

Photo from The Valley Downs website.

Aside from their annual performance each April when International Pop Overthrow touches down in the Windy City, we just don’t see or hear enough from The Valley Downs. Led by vocalist/guitarist Marianne Shimkus and her husband vocalist/bassist Mike Galassini, the Chicago-based quartet’s catchy power pop is certainly worthy of wider exposure. It’s been a while since The Valley Downs’ debut, the Behemoth E.P. was released, but it’s worth revisiting while we wait for a follow-up.

“Better” is an optimistic mid-tempo number that sounds remarkably like The Bangles as Shimkus sings of the power of love and support. She uses a tougher vocal approach for the social satire of “Drama Queen,” declaring, “I’m gonna rule the world just for you” and “Everything I do, you’re gonna do too.” The more energetic “Sorry” deals with leaving a relationship, and Shimkus channels Deborah Harry on the hard-edged and sexy “Twister.” Galassini, who got his start with the power pop trio 92 Degrees and still performs with them on occasion, brings his bass playing to the forefront throughout the E.P., and joins Shimkus on harmonies.

Hopefully, the band will release a full-length effort in the near future. Their MySpace page, at, offers a professional video of a new song, “Play For You” as well as live performance videos, and a photo montage of the The Valley Downs’ visit to Liverpool (for an IPO performance) set to their version of The Beatles’ “For No One.”

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