PLAYING DETROIT: Valley Hush “Iris”

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Iris Cover Art
Artwork was created by sculptor Clinton Snider and visual artist Tony Katai with help from Playground Detroit.

Multi-instrumentalist Alex Kaye and vocalist Lianna Vanicelli are Valley Hush, Detroit’s celestial pop duo whose flirtatious macabre swells in their latest single “Iris.” For a song that encapuslates escapism without sounding recklessness, “Iris” is a seamlessly produced mélange of jutting synths, animated chiming, and cosmic vocals that what at times feels like a marriage between Bollywood and Portishead on amphetamines.

“Iris” is a tempestuous seduction of straight lines and blurred edges that challenge the traditional trajectory of a sexy pop song. If rolling your hips in slow motion had a soundtrack, this would be it. In its provocation, “Iris” never feels cheap or expected. The track exudes an aural illusion of time being rewound and fast forwarded simultaneously, and reveals glimpses of the complete real-time picture, reminding us that the beauty of the track is in its visual symphony. Paired with the imaginative orchestration, Vanicelli’s voice quivers with a spacial lucidity through the airy phrasing of the lyrics: “I know that it can be hard to wake up/sometimes the nights are moving slow/you think you’re dying alone /and I know how the highs get low.” 

There is never a moment in “Iris” that feels nostalgic. This comes as a compliment. Valley Hush found a space between the present and future, crafting a sensual purgatory that is as sincere as it is politely hedonistic.

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Photo by Katie Boone

“Iris” is the first single off of the band’s first full length album due later this year. Listen to the track below:

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