Valley Maker: When The Day Leaves

Everything about Valley Maker’s When The Day Leaves suggests you should immediately stop reading this, and (assuming you’re inside) go outside for a long walk with the album on your headphones – When The Day Leaves is a meditative sequence of reflections on being “awed by and worried for the world”, and as such may be best experienced outdoors with some fresh air.

Valley Maker is the music project of Austin Crane, and When the Day Leaves is their fourth album (and second for Frenchkiss Records). It was made in a period when Crane was moving from Seattle to his home state of South Carolina, where he re-joined a community of friends and moved into an-old house in need of some love.

The album immediately reflects this sense of movement through opener “Branch I Bend”, and sets the scene for the rest of the album with natural, acoustic instrumentation and a distinctive vocal sound; Crane’s voice sets the pace, and Amy Godwin’s counterpoint vocal weaves around it ethereally.

This is gentle music for frazzled souls, but is still immediate and engaging. “No One Is Missing”, written “as a way of grappling with the partiality and temporality of how we connect with one another”, has a great up-tempo groove. The folkie guitar and golden vocal of “Voice Inside The Well” swirl with nature’s power. “Instrument”, “a meditation on the challenges of persevering, of loving the world and other people, and of maintaining a hopeful vision for the future in these times we’re living through”, is driven forward through its melodic piano and harmony vocals. The plaintive “On A Revelation” is drenched in fuzz, but keeps the beat of a lonesome soul.

There is an impressive array of instrumentation and arrangements on the album: the acoustic (“When The Day Leaves”), the percussive (“Pine Trees”) woodwind (“Aberration”) brass (“Line Erasing”), and intricate guitar work (“Mockingbird” and “Freedom”). However it’s Crane and Godwin’s voices pushing and pulling together throughout the album which makes this such a memorable record.

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Label: Frenchkiss Records
Release Date: 19 FEB 2021