The indie rock supergroup Valley of the Giants aren't big pretenders with an ambitious scope of creating an artistically original album of rock & roll. If anything, they're slightly reserved about their various backgrounds and talents; however, an impressionable blend of many musical worlds and reflections of particular moods and spells of an isolated countryside carry the weight that is the Valley of the Giants' self-titled debut. It's a cinematic soundscape captured on a four-track recorder, an instrumental trail to unguarded moments of the most northern regions of America while also a trek to the more bleak ridges of the bottom of the earth. From the creaking flow of lap steel guitars and violins of "Claudia & Klaus" and "Westworld," Valley of the Giants' post-rock experiment is well underway. A careful and cautious approach to production is one step ahead as the band explores its sound. One can sense how comfortable each musician is, for Valley of the Giants breathes without grand pretext. The only thing the band is concerned with is musical and/or emotional discovery and allowing the listener the chance to embark on such a journey. Cartoonish horns just barely hint at the depth of "Cantara Sin Guitara," the sibling to "Westworld." Folk and world beats dance in the darkness of an afternoon while Spanish-flavored brass arrangements aim to break such grayness above one's head. The strain for sunlight continues on "Waiting for a Bullet," an Arabic-inflected illustration of heat and hunger, a red sphere of flames quenching one's thirst for passionate inquisitions. Such craving continues on "A Whaling Tale." This moving account of a penguin kidnapped by killer whales doesn't compose the glow and spark of the album-closing track, "Bala Bay Inn," but that's the purpose of this passage. Valley of the Giants allows you to start somewhere and end somewhere with actually feeling and thinking something. An unknown legend is present throughout the many sketches of Valley of the Giants. Not even the Dirty Three or Godspeed You Black Emperor! have touched upon something so tangible in song and thought.
AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson