VLY is a new project put together by guitarist Karl Demata, who will be familiar to many from the brilliant, experimental outfit Crippled Black Phoenix.
That band have produced progressive masterpieces such as No Sadness Or Farewell, so this debut album has been hotly anticipated. Indeed, many of the Demata/Phoenix hallmarks are present and correct, not least his Dave Gilmour-esque guitar work, which superbly embellishes several of the pieces here, but overall there’s a more relaxed, almost languid feel to proceedings. Reminiscent of OK Computer-era Radiohead, many of the tracks float by, drawing the listener into their web with vocals that recall Al Stewart at times. More playful touches of a psych-pop nature leaven the songs in places, giving them an extra spring in their step when needed and lifting Circles, *Time *and Perfect Place into very fine pieces indeed. The exception to this is driving rocker Out Of The Maze, which pops up quite unexpectedly midway through but works extremely well by injecting a change of pace and welcome energy into the work. 1/Time is the full prog main course, on a bed of Radiohead with a Gilmour garnish and an XTC sauce. Tasty!