Though the wait for new Vales material has been long and tedious, with the unveiling of debut album ‘Wilt & Rise’, they fail to disappoint. The UK quartet plays one of the most unique brands of female-fronted emotional hardcore, without sacrificing any accessibility.
From album opener ‘Dead Wood’, it’s clear that Vales know what they’re doing, as they seamlessly mix the raw emotion of screamo with the cathartic energy of punk rock, portrayed alongside the wide range of dynamics and melody found within post-rock. ‘Survival’, aided by Chlo Edwards‘ absolutely furious vocals, conveys a somewhat overwhelming sense of frustration and melancholy, echoed in ‘Katrina’, a reverb-laden guitar instrumental.
Anyone who’s familiar with the band’s first release, 2012’s ‘Clarity’, will be familiar with Edwards‘ vocals, and it should be obvious, even before listening to ‘Wilt & Rise’, that she sounds amazing. While she lacks the shrillness (which listeners may or may not like) of Punch‘s Meghan O’Neil, she’s just as intense. There are moments on the album where Edwards is screaming over quiet guitar lines, and the contrast created is absolutely breath-taking, most notably in ‘Respite’.
Though it’s a short album, not a single second is wasted, making ‘Wilt & Rise’ one of the catchiest, most accessible screamo records in recent years. The finale in the form of ‘Waterfalls’ is incredible, and the raw production enhances both the song and the album as a whole. Vales show far more potential in just two releases than most bands do in their entire lifetime. In a few words, ‘Wilt & Rise’ is incredible.
Written by Jack Boaden