Don’t like Death Valley High? Just keep listening. It’s just one of those genre-challenged groups that really does a great job not fitting in anywhere. Can’t decide if they’re garbage or brilliant? It’s a tough call to make. Of course, there is something to say about a band you cannot properly categorize, and there’s even more to say about a band that makes you uncomfortably awake.
With the release of the album Positive Euth, I wasn’t entirely sure about what I was listening to. Was it that I had too much caffeine? Did Mindless Self Indulgence start a post punk band? I didn’t know. What I did know is that, regardless of my reservations, I found Death Valley High dangerously catchy. The first track “Bath Salt Party” was a perfectly accurate audio adaptation of… Well a bath salt party. The best way for me to describe the track would be to say that it was a beautifully done cluster-fuck of tempo changes, screaming, and falsetto. But just wait, because it gets weirder. Death Valley High progresses, and by no means gracefully, into tracks that feature themes like electronica, post punk, and metal. The third track “How 2 Kill” is almost totally a post punk song while track four, “Fingernail Marks” is quite the opposite.
As the track list continued, I started to realize how I felt about Death Valley High. And here is the advantage I found: If you find a song unbearable (it is likely that you might), it should only be a minute or two before the suffering ceases. Luckily, the album has more good tracks than not.
I found that Death Valley High is very multi-talented. The feature has a way of showcasing their many flavors, and with any truly unique band, the flavors will vary. Some will be excellent and some will be shit. Death Valley High has the flexibility and creativity to propel itself through many albums to come, and I don’t really care if I have to take the good with the bad.