Home Read Albums Of The Week: Valley Lodge | Shadows in Paradise

Albums Of The Week: Valley Lodge | Shadows in Paradise

The dudes who wrote John Oliver’s theme? There's more where that came from.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “New York City power pop band Valley Lodge are back, rising like a phoenix — or some other bird that bursts into flames for no apparent reason — with their fifth album Shadows in Paradise. Fans of hot rock and just people in general perhaps know the band best for their song Go — aka the theme song for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver but that’s, like, not even their best song (even though it’s amazing) — and the band’s new album is further evidence of that.

“That’s, like, not even our best song,” the band’s singer, guitar player, and semi-pro BMX rider Dave Hill adds, just in case you missed that point the first time. And since we’re clearly doing the repetition thing, he adds: “You totally have to hear this new album, which is called Shadows in Paradise, mentioned earlier.” Everybody up to speed? OK, moving on (as John would say):

Valley Lodge recorded Shadows in Paradise with producer Tom Beaujour (Nada Surf, Juliana Hatfield) at Beaujour’s Nuthouse Recording even though it’s all the way in Union City, New Jersey and Dave and his fellow band mates drummer Rob Pfeiffer (who used to be in Sense Field and also once appeared in a J. Crew catalog), and bassist Eddie Eyeball (who is also a member of the legendary 2 Skinnee J’s despite never having modeled professionally) all agreed they would never take the PATH train again.

It took some doing, but thanks to Beaujour’s guidance and some light snacks, the band eventually emerged with an 11-song album that sounds kind like a ’70s AM radio mixtape pressed to vinyl and played in some kid’s basement in London 1969 that just so happens to be across the street from a Ratt concert parking lot in 1985 that some new wave kids accidentally showed up to because of drugs. Or something like that. “I played it for my friend Greg and he said it’s our best album,” Rob said via a text message to Dave. “For real.”

And you can bet your ass Greg, whoever he is, is totally right. From the epic riffs of the album opener Daylights all the way to the album’s seductive (yes, seductive) closer That Love, which the band totally stands by even though Beaujour suggested the band put it last before quickly changing the subject, Shadows in Paradise is jam-packed with earworms that will play again and again in your head to the point where you’ll honestly probably get kind of pissed off about it. But then you’ll calm down and just put the album on again whether you are driving down the road on a warm summer’s day in search of the man, hanging out in a Burger King parking lot even though you were just asked by the manager not to do that, or facing an invasive medical procedure with a positive mental attitude.

While Shadows in Paradise was recorded primarily as a trio, some friends dropped by as well, including Guided By Voices guitarist Doug Gillard, who added killer guitar and backup vocals to a few tracks, and Columbus musician Happy Chichester (Royal Crescent Mob, Howlin’ Maggie, Twilight Singers) who played keyboards and sang his ass off on a couple songs. And Lily Mastrodimos (Long Neck), opera diva Jennifer Valle aka La Sinistra (Witch Taint), and Sean Cahill (Next Great American Novelist) sang backup vocals so great that Dave had to call his therapist during lunch.

Valley Lodge look forward to the album becoming album of the year — at least as far as they are concerned. There will also be extremely live live dates during which Valley Lodge will play songs from Shadows from Paradise but then also songs from their first four albums. The afterparty is at your mom’s house. Burn.”