Desire is a striking movement between darkness and light that will joggle the minds of even the most foolhardy of listeners.
One musing that keeps me up at night is the sheer realization that I will never be able to walk on clouds or through the stars. Of course, there is a large sum of very logical, very acceptable reasons as to why this is a fact. However, I just cannot come to terms with such a thing without much strife. Will it become a possibility someday? Maybe. In the meantime, we have Valerinne. Valerinne is a post-rock/post-metal trio hailing from Bucharest, Romania. If you haven’t heard of them yet, listen up. Boasting a tracklist of six wonderfully swoon-worthy songs, all reaching over ten minutes long, Valerinne‘s Desire marks the seventh album in their discography lineup.
The album opens with spine-tingling “Young Demon”, as drummer Mircea Smarandache invites the listener to throw on their best headphones, lean back, and enjoy the ride. Then, with the help of guitarist Alexandru Das and bassist Liviu Stoicescu, the track continues to press on into oblivion, and get lost along the way. With meaty, smooth breakdowns and haunting polyrhythms, it’s no wonder this song was placed first to introduce the listener to the overall dynamic of the album.
Desire continues to hold our hands down the path of enlightenment with “Star from Below” and its companion “Earth from Above”. The two seem to form a beautiful subplot when placed together as they are listed on the album. “Star from Below” grips on tight, as if it is telling a tale of a journey faced with trust, peril, and a longing search that trails off into uncertainty. “Earth from Above” comes in to see the story through to its resolution, settles down, and closes peacefully.
Something that always brings me back to the post-metal realm is how it portrays this perception of an auditory adventure. A comparison that kept coming to mind as I listened was Godspeed You! Black Emperor and their album Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven with how it leaves me feeling as though I’ve just watched an entire mental motion picture. While Desire differs in sound and overall vibe, it still has that same affect. Similarly, “Deceiver” urges the listener to transcend any current dispositions with which they may be challenged as an immersion of lingering guitar riffs sends the mind flying through the stars, as “Hegemon” is there waiting to carry them to safety.
Desire closes with the haunting “Sorrows”, as it seems to offer a conclusion to the listener’s journey and slowly lulls them in and out of consciousness. This album paints an illustrious expectation for the group, and left me wanting to not only listen ten more times, but partake in absolutely nothing else as I do.
For many, post-rock is unexciting due to its typical ‘no lyrics’ structure. But for a different lump sum, it is musical art. Valerinne does an impeccable job of encapsulating that idea with this album, and left me excited to learn more of their previous works and those to come.