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Meditate with Valerie

The Halifax shoegaze outfit offers contemplative lyrics sunk in layers of guitars.

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Jamieson, Stevens, Brown, Schriver and McNally turn up the vibe in Valerie. - DYLAN CHEW
  • DYLAN CHEW
  • Jamieson, Stevens, Brown, Schriver and McNally turn up the vibe in Valerie.

Valerie Thin Veil release w/Juice Girls, Vulva Culture (solo), Ghost Pills
Thursday, June 20, 8pm
The Seahorse Tavern, 2037 Gottingen Street
$6


I t's not unusual to experience a heightened sense of awareness while listening to Valerie. "A few shows in, I realized it was a bit more of a meditative experience than anything," says vocalist and guitarist Palmer Jamieson. "It kind of allows everyone in our band to kind of sink into that headspace. Everything feels like it slows down for us when we play it live."

It wasn't by design, but the sounds of the Halifax dream-pop-shoegaze band take the creators—and crowd—to a different place. Even if Jamieson says "it wasn't meant to happen this way," it's not that shocking when looking at the roots of the band: Jamieson and guitarist Shawn McNally have played music together for eight years and released fuzzy ambient music as a duo called Night Surf. Guitarist Kayla Stevens plays in Vulva Culture, which Jamieson says "isn't too far off that sound as well."

The lyrics of the five-track Thin Veil are contemplative. They dig deep. "It all kind of circled around the bigger meaning of 'why I exist' or 'why we exist,'" says Jamieson, who was reading a lot of Buddhist literature and wrote lyrics based on texts that resonated with him. "It's always going to oscillate between 'why do I exist' and 'the hint of death.' It's all around the meaning of life, right? Why we're doing what we're doing and how are we feeling OK with it."

It's the debut EP for a band that's been around for a couple years but operates like a long-distance relationship. The three guitarists and bassist Caleb Schriver are in Halifax while drummer Ryan Brown (Glory Glory) is now based out of Saint John.

"There were hurdles but it's very nice to finally have it," says Jamieson of the record. "It feels like we closed kind of a chapter in the band and now we can just start moving forward from those original songs." a