I am not one to discriminate based on genre. I will happily listen to anything. However, anyone that knows me can tell you, I have a bit of a soft spot for pop-punk and folk (though not necessarily together). Valaska is no exception to this. With the album Natural Habitat, I have found a new album that I like to play on repeat as I draw.
“On The Surface” has a folksy-charm to it, though I mostly found myself entranced by the clever vocabulary displayed in the lyrics, though that wit is present throughout the entirety of Natural Habitat.
“Spanish Needles” is something I can hear playing at the beginning of a film. From the beats to the vocals, this song is thoughtful and interesting. Speaking of soundtrack-worthy tracks, Valaska’s raw quality, especially with open, honest tracks like “Hammer and Nails,” takes you back to when bands like Death Cab For Cutie got their big breaks, or when everyone was blasting the soundtrack from Juno on long drives. Not that anyone could blame them.
“Golden Age” may be my favorite track, just because of the overall tone. “Some thoughts will carry you and some won’t,” Dave Valdez croons. Just with that one line, it suddenly becomes difficult to focus on much else but every word he sings. The song has versatility to it; it could be a slow-dance song, or just something to listen to on a jog.
Oddly enough, “War and Peace” reminds me of old songs that my Granddad plays in the car or whenever he and I sit together. It’s comforting and familiar, while still making a fresh impression on your iTunes. If not just for the soft strumming of the guitar or plucking of the banjo, the song will strike you like nostalgia. The title-track later follows in a very similar vein, though there is an amazing pick-up towards the end.
Much like “Golden Age,” Valaska’s “Wildfire” has a spot on my list of favorites. The beautiful piano melody, the lyrics, the imagery, all of it just pulls you in and wraps you up. “I lost the echo of sound, but your voice came through…” is just one of the many lines that makes you fall in love with the song just that little bit more. “In Voids” blends in a similar fashion, but with a slight edge lyrically. It really delves into the darker side of the singer-songwriter, as does “Bijou,” ending the album perfectly.
Natural Habitat is a great album for an easy-going day, or, depending on the mood of your art, creating something. As I said, there is a very-present charm, especially in Valdez’s voice and in the beautiful lyrics that encompass the entire album.
Purchase a CD of ‘Natural Habitat’ here!
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