From the heart of Birmingham, Alabama, emerges a new sound, echoing the raw struggles of life’s inevitable end: Valley Of Doves. Their debut album, “The Long Arm of Light,” transcends the boundaries of genre, converging at the intersection of introspection and sonic craft.
“Death is always around us, lurking not only behind us but also within us. Its finality must be reckoned with. These songs confront and embrace hope in the face of the inevitable,” says guitarist Michael Abrams, offering a piercing insight into the album’s thematic core. While it wasn’t initially conceived as a concept album, “The Long Arm of Light” gradually evolved into a reflection on life’s transience, the fleeting nature of existence, and the inevitability of its conclusion.
These musings on mortality stem from personal experiences — watching their children grow, confronting the death of close ones, witnessing the deterioration of relationships, and navigating the anguish of seeing friends succumb to addiction. Each of the album’s eight tracks delves into the realization that all good things, eventually, come to an end.
While the themes are somber, the sonic landscape is rich and intricate. Bassist Sean Kirby and drummer Adam Clayton lay down pulsing rhythms, while the hazy, fuzzed-out guitars from Abrams and Jonathan Hoffman set the ambient tone. Paxton Brittle’s vocals encapsulate the emotional tumult of grappling with life’s weight.
Drawing inspiration from the vibrant notes of the Smashing Pumpkins during the Siamese Dream era, the heartfelt sincerity of Thursday, and the melodic depth of Hopesfall, Valley of Doves has cheekily coined their sound as “post post-hardcore.”
“This sound,” Abrams muses, “is what happens when a bunch of dudes that grew up with Teen Spirit on MTV and found punk and hardcore in their teens and 20’s grew into men with jobs and families but refused to put down their instruments.”
Valley of Doves is no stranger to the music scene. Their legacy is intertwined with bands that have toured both regionally and nationally, like Embraced, Don’t Die Cindy, The Black Noise Party Boys, Lost Language, and Materia Medica. Over the years, they’ve shared stages with influential names such as Underoath, Norma Jean, and Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, emphasizing live performances.
Yet, with “The Long Arm of Light,” the emphasis shifted from live performances to meticulous studio craftsmanship. After collaborating with Birmingham-based engineer Matthew Powell, they enlisted the expertise of gold record producer James Paul Wisner for mixing. The final touch was provided by three-time Grammy award winner Alan Douches, who mastered the tracks.
The culmination is a cohesive, full-bodied album, a testament to the urgency and passion of a band eager to present something profound. As bassist Kirby aptly summarizes, it’s “A reflection on mortality, a meditation on life lived and death.” A narrative that, in its essence, resonates with all of humanity.