San Francisco’s Death Valley High doesn’t shy away from their morbid outlook on life, and Positive Euth, the band’s latest for Minus HEAD records, further reinforces the band’s steadfast allegiance to the dark side. Need convincing? A snap judgement suggests that songs like “Bath Salt Party”, “Commit To Knife”, and “Blood Drive” live in a world noticeably unpopulated by the likes of Simon and Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell, and the Hanson brothers.
But while song titles alone only allow for a skin-deep assessment, Death Valley High aren’t just having fun with wordplay. The manic sounds entombed within Positive Euth match the surface-level seediness, rollicking menacingly across the sonic map from gothic boogie rock to noise-rock freak outs. If 2011’s well-received Doom, In Full Bloom found the band finessing its doom pop style into fighting shape, Positive Euth is the band going for kidney punches. As frontman Reyka Osburn put it, ”If it was dark, we went darker. If it was hard, we went harder and if it was dancey, we went, you guessed it… dancier.”
To that end, Positive Euth lives up to its claims, sticking to the formula but doubling up the carnal dosage. “The Present” bops along with a raunchy blues bounce while Osburn muses cryptically about how “we all bleed blue on the inside.” Elsewhere, “Fingernail Marks” spins off its axis in a fit of proggy thrash, “Batdanse” provides the soundtrack to a dance party from hell, and “How2Kill” does hook-happy goth rock with all the skill of the Alkaline Trio. It might not be the best pick-me-up in the world, but Postive Euth still offers enough cause to get up and shake your ass in the dark.
Essential tracks: “The Present”, “How2 Kill”, “Blood Drive”