Local Review: Bly Wallentine – Dizzy Giant
Local Music Reviews
Bly Wallentine = Sufjan Stevens + Gary Wilson (Tormented) + Soft Hair
Indie pop meets psychedelic blues. Provo-based artist Bly Wallentine invites us listeners into her wonderful vision of complexity with a solid-length album that’s both chipper and rancorous. It’s one of those albums that, of course, has an acquired taste; one that will possibly take you at least three listening sessions until you actually get through its entirety. And honestly, I don’t think that’s a bad thing—it makes this LP not only specific, but atypical and very close to exceptional.
Why begin this review with the first song? No point. Everybody does that. So, let’s begin with the second: “Inconsistent Current (Fear of a Solipsist).” The title says it all. Wallentine is naturally questioning what she knows, and what her subjective conception of reality can barely grasp—an outer reality that we, at times, actively deny. Wallentine confesses to us listeners while she hesitantly (and even drippily) sings, “I am an inconsistent current / Of electricity / I am determining resistance / To connectivity.” Unfailingly, these lyrics remind me of a William Riggan quote: “Reality of the outside world disintegrates, and the narrator’s world gradually comes to consist of nothing more than the feverish imaginings and distortions of his own psyche.”
This thought process continues into the next track, “Feminine Destruction,” with Wallentine singing, “It’s all in my head / And outside my head.” The song has a mix of distorted horns, drums and sax (props to Jillian Rogers, Logan Hone and Chris Shemwell), that keeps you on your toes as Wallentine persistently bellows her insecurities of this skewed consciousness with many turns and disruptive swings, leaving you with the creeps of paranoia—a six-minute song that maybe should only be three. The track ends and leaves you at a loss amid delicate sounds as if a spinning bowl is falling to the ground.
The body of the LP becomes relaxed, not as high-concentrated and trippy as the beginning moments. There’s liberation in “Safe Smallness” as Wallentine chimes, “The walls are now closing in / Around me / I am growing bigger / And bigger / Encompassing everything.” And yet, you don’t necessarily assume that this feeling is of claustrophobia, but a break-through, as in coming to terms with what is—the breakage of the Real. “And now I feel myself shrinking / Back down to a safe smallness.” Ebb and flow. Breathe in, breathe out.
“Any Love At All” is like a rock opera, with Wallentine contemplating: “Some days I can’t feel / Any love at all / I don’t know if it’s missing / Or if I just can’t let it in / Do I stretch my fingers / Towards the face of my lover?” These lines right here truly embody the emotions one can hear in this album: The vulnerability is not a cry for help, but a way to connect to a bigger picture, a cosmic community that is even more complex and boundless than what we have in our own physical compass. There’s a reason the mind is one powerful thing.
And then, there’s the fall. The final track, “I’m Screaming Out to You,” is a bang as an end to this music journey, with Wallentine somewhat coming to terms with who knows what. Life? Suffering? The pursuit of happiness? That’s the mystery, which should be kept for Wallentine only. All in all, this album fucking rocks. The skillset is undoubtedly there, and Wallentine’s voice is equally natural and unusual—somewhat reminds me of Matt Bellamy’s pitch. Give Dizzy Giant a chance, and be enthralled by what you gravitate towards. As Donovan once said, “Happiness runs, happiness runs.” –Kassidy Waddell