A Spooky Tribute for Halloween within “Under the Spell of Joy,” from LA band Death Valley Girls

Reviewed by: Genevieve Kyle

Everyone’s favorite witchy-meets-psychedelic power-pop band, Death Valley Girls just released their new album, Under The Spell of Joy on October 2nd. And for me, this album is something that is not to be missed, and will surely give you the chilling Halloween vibes that you have been looking for.

Under The Spell of Joy i​s a record that presents the listener with a feeling of darkness mixed with pockets of light; all helping to keep a balance for the listening experience. Carried by a “cult sound” the album gives off a 70s-rock-soul feel, but is floating on top of a calm euphoric cloud with tight connections to the blues. Crafted with strong vocals, snarring horns, and tied together with a harmonizing guitar, this album paints the picture of a twisted 21st-century love, as if inspired by your favorite season of  American Horror Story. From front to back, Under the Spell of Joy will put you under a spell of pop-punk rhythmic beats, and will keep you grooving with its cool and witchy melodies.

Under The Spell Of Joy ​builds off of their 2018 album, ​Darkness Rains​. Although ​Darkness Rains​ carries more of a metallic and grunge sound, ​Under The Spell Of Joy​ managed to intertwine the same blunt choral objectives and hypnotic rhythms. However, their 2020 record can be looked at as another piece to the puzzle in the band’s evolution of their sound. Drawing from the jubilant spirit of Ethiopian funk records, a rich off the wall esthetic and a clear balance of light and dark is consistently heard within Under the Spell of Joy​. The new record can be seen as Death Valley Girl’s ultimate creation, giving off an introduction to space gospel.

The album’s opener, ​​“Hypnagogia” is a prime example of the group’s growing sound. Displaying a badass attitude, brought in by its eerie harmonizing and heart-pounding drum beats, this song prepares the listener for the listening experience that is going to unfold  throughout the rest of the album, while standing in as a stellar track of its own.

And building off of the haunting  hypnotic tones is the title track “Under the Spell of Joy,” which contains a quicker pace that can be seen as drawing a slight similarity to the sounds of The Cranberries. “Under the Spell of Joy” greatly speaks to the concept of a person’s place when it comes to love. The album’s primary mantra “Under the Spell of Joy” which is chanted consistently, an emphasis on the clash between good and evil, while acting as a scripture for us all to live by.

As Halloween creeps upon us, it would be a shame not to check out Death Valley Girls ​Under the Spell of Joy, a​nd to add their album to any spooky playlist you might be crafting​.

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