Continuing an impressive run of productivity with their third project in just over two years, Toronto alt-pop quartet Valley have returned with their most jubilant collection of tracks yet. Flipping the script on the somber themes of last year’s sucks to see you doing better, The Last Birthday EP is set to bright piano chords, infectious melodies and upbeat, danceable grooves celebrating exciting new romantic connections — the title, Last Birthday, being a reference to finding the one who will stick around until then. The twist is that the band rejects the melodrama of a big movie-style moment, instead choosing to revel in normality, late-night marathons of Friends, and accidentally letting things fall into perfect place before anyone realizes it’s too late to back out.
Similar to the grungier instrumental elements and blown-out guitars that sometimes juxtapose with their decidedly bubblegum choruses, something’s always going to be bubbling underneath the surface. It’s unlikely that everything will work out as happily as many of these tracks end up sounding, but the band is making the active choice to look on the bright side. With a rising tide of TikTok fame and a heavy dose of lyrical nostalgia as the band repeatedly reminisce on turn-of-the-millennium pop cultural staples, Valley is the perfect soundtrack for new beginnings with old friends.
Best Track: “SOCIETY”