Hands up who likes Fugazi?
Hands up who likes Bluetip?.
Hands up who likes Jawbox?
Now, hands up who’s interested in hearing stuff on Thursday vocalist, Geoff Rickley’s record label?
Right, if your arms are still by your sides you might as well leave now. Oh, unless you like At The Drive-In’s guitar work – you people should probably stick around too. Are you all sitting comfortably? Marvellous. Because you’re all going to appreciate The Valley Arena in one way or another.
The opening track here, ‘To The Bitter Amputees’, gives the immediate impression of a band too enamored with Fugazi for their own good, but as ‘Take Comfort In Strangers’ progresses so do the angular soundscapes and erratic eruptions that make it such a joy to listen to. Dark without being self-conscious, complex without being too taxing and artistic without being pretentious, Long Beach’s The Valley Arena play the kind of post-rock we all liked so much before emo came along and distracted us. It surges; it wallows; it challenges; it soars. Sure, it’s probably nothing you haven’t heard before but you certainly haven’t heard it in a while and this is by no means predictable.