In the Valley
Reviewed by Libby Webster, Fri., March 22, 2019
Let's not be flippant about the state of the nation, but In the Valley makes a case for grooving through the breakdown. New project from Stephanie Mueller and Nate Buckley, Hi, Gene! finds the two trading off vocals as well as guitar and bass, with Rachel Badger on drums. The trio's tight, 10-track debut skitters with existential dread, serrated post-punk guitar and guttural vocals colliding over danceable basslines as the album pulses with anxiety, dysfunction, and the invasiveness of technology in society – the inability to connect, addiction to screens, isolation. On "Void," Mueller barks, "I am the void," angular axe lines exploding like static, a call-and-response between human and machine. "It's not a way of life, it's just a way to live," Buckley laments plainly on "Valley," which goes on to become the thesis of the song and In the Valley.