Melbourne band Collegians signed to Cultivator Records a few years back then went on to release three great singles including Vaccine (finalist in two categories of the USA Songwriting Competition), Black Mass (#09 debut iTunes rock charts, Top 5 AMRAP) and Killer (top ten iTunes alternative charts, Top 5 AMRAP). Their latest track comes after a lengthy break for the band but it’s a welcome surprise; the new song is as brooding in places as some of their previous tracks but feels a little grander in scale without resorting to any sort of rock cliché. The Valley, which was mixed by Grammy-nominated Travis Ference (Imagine Dragons, Eagles of Death Metal, St. Vincent), is a blend of elements that make this Melbourne act difficult to categorize; a pop-infused treatment of melody, performances that are a balance between technique and attitude and a tendency to sprinkle their base four-piece line-up instrumentation with synths, loops and ambient-styled textures. Fronted by British-born Glenn Patrick, The Valley brings to life all the energy of a live act yet with a subtle sheen of polish all over it. As Glenn says of the song, ‘With this track we really wanted to merge the two sides of the band, to bring together the more deliberate and meditative side and marry that to the raw immediacy of our live set’. The song is anthemic yet contains a deceptive twist in the lyric. What begins with an almost cautionary tone, as heard in the verses, soon becomes an expansive meditation on renewal, with a few ambiguous lines such as ‘Just let go till you fall’ or ‘bodies being fooled by spirit’ adding to the allure and the sense that the band favour the cryptic over the direct which works here despite the accessibility of the melodies and the overall sound. The Valley is a vivid encapsulation of a band refining their style, exploring the balance between the elastic intonations of pop and the more dramatic aspects of rock. This is a band on an interesting trajectory and no doubt The Valley will help in opening up their appeal, satisfying the pop listeners as well asappeasing the more discerning indie-rock listeners.