Nathan Williams, of surf punk outfit Wavves, grabbed his brother Joel, and put out something completely different, but not in the way you may suspect. While the Williams' method of delivery is quite different from Wavves, the intent seems appropriate. Sweet Valley is electronica in the vein of DJ Shadow or Pretty Lights, often creating a more surreal, rythm-shaking feel than you may find at a club.
The record's lead track, "Total Carnage," plays bi-polar with its listeners, shifting energies and beats in stylish fashion The harpsichord samples on "Susuka 9 Hours" twists a typically classical instrument into a space-age paraphernalia, complete with theramin-style accents, while "Malibu Games" harkens back to the surf, sampling early 60s surf-pop. "Dunk Dreams 95" feel like a drunken horn section on a roller coaster; its slide trombones swaying with the turns, while the title track, "Stay Calm" and the reggae-inspired "Sidewalk Surfer" offer ambient relief. The sampled rocker, "Eight," is an addictive, brow-furling piece of groove-rock, with "Final Zone" starting as an ethereal track, then touting nintendo-era video game samples.
It all goes down smooth. If there was ever a stoner contingent to electronic, Sweet Valley would be it. With visions of sunny, surf grooves, eclectic sampling, and nothing reaching above mid-tempo, Stay Calm is a brilliant,ly addictive, experimental debut from this band of brothers. The album's appeal is spectacularly broad, and each spin blissful like bubblegum that never loses flavor.