Idols In The Dark Heart

Valery Gore

Independent release, 2014

http://valerygore.com

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/19/2014

“Strange” would be one way of describing this third effort by Toronto-based Valery Gore. Another way of describing Idols In The Dark Heart would be “beautiful triumph.” This is a self-funded DIY project, without any record label backing, and is partly funded by the Ontario Arts council.

But there is absolutely nothing about Idols that even remotely hints of its DIY roots. Gore availed the use of Apple’s Logic and made a lot of the music on this record solitary on a computer. However, Idols is exquisitely produced with no compromise whatsoever, and it sounds on par with any pop record. In fact, if you take the name “Valery Gore” out of the equation, this release could have come from someone like Peter Gabriel, PJ Harvey, St. Vincent, or Bjork.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This brings us to the “strange” part. Gore is unlike any artist, and most certainly Idols is unlike any other album that one would usually encounter. This disc has the caliber of the albums by any of the aforementioned artists; and much like any album by the aforementioned artists, Idols is elegant, beautiful, and absolutely unique.

Gore’s words, although abstract, have as melodious and rhythmic a ring to them as the accompanying music, and appear as if they were poems first and words to a song later. Due to this, all of Idols has a very personal narrative-like feel, especially the sparser numbers like “S.O.” and “Hummingbird In Reverse,” where Gore sounds like she is actually performing poetry.

The musical complexity is as extraordinary as the music itself. On one hand, there are straight up catchy electronic indie pop numbers like “Lungs” and “Chinook;” then there are its odder – and definitely more interesting – siblings, “Clean Break,” “Evergreen,” and “With The Future” with their quirky song structures. There is also a jazz-influenced, chamber pop aspect to this album on tracks such as “Character Girls, Quiet Guys,” “July,” “Amsterdam,” and “New Year’s Eve,” which are more organic and meticulously arranged, featuring instruments both conventional and unconventional.

Gore does a phenomenal job of making the eccentricity of Idols accessible, which is why this album is nothing short of a masterpiece. This album might not have reached the exposure it deserves, but there is no doubt that this is a groundbreaking, one-of-a-kind record.

Rating: A

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