It had been a few years since The Valley Downs released their impressive debut, Behemoth, so I was glad to be able to pick up this new self-titled effort at their recent performance at International Pop Overthrow - Chicago. Led by married couple singer-guitarist Marianne Shimkus and bassist-vocalist Mike Galassini, the band (which also includes guitarist Christian Peterson and drummer Todd Rusin) continues to craft melodic songs that sound like tracks from a Bangles CD, or perhaps The Continental Drifters. There’s also a definite Beatles influence running through these four tracks.
Despite having a female lead vocalist, Valley Downs songs rarely have a gender-specific point of view. Shimkus brings the cryptic lyrics to life, whether it’s on the sunny “Play For You” (which can be seen as a video on YouTube) or the ironically titled “Lucky Day,” a Country & Western flavored tune with disturbing imagery like, “You leave me in the dirt, the dirt is where I’ll stay.“ “A Day Dream” features an exquisite melody and some nice harmonies from Shimkus and Galassini, while the guitar and keyboards arrangement of “Stupid Boy” creates an authentic 1970s vibe.
The Valley Downs unveiled a few more new songs at their IPO gig, so hopefully, they’ll be releasing more music in the near future.