South Carolina's U.S. Christmas (here as USX) are at the height of their powers, it seems. Their last release, 2010's "Run Thick In The Night", was a masterpiece of spaced-out Americana-meets-post-rock. And this follow-up EP/album is a monumental slab, as well. It's a single 39-minute track that begins with a simple mantric riff. As the song progresses, listeners are treated to ambient landscapes, drifty space rock, Neil Young-style rockers, mighty, thunderous post-metal thump and mountain-jam stomp.
Recurring melodic themes, and the moody violins of Meghan Mulhearn conspire to make this a singular audio journey. Sure, with the multiple personalities on display here, "The Valley Path" could have been divided into a number of index points, but the reasoning here stands...it's all one trip. It has it's highs and lows, it's ups and downs, but it's all here, concluding with a nighttime grasshopper/locust serenade. Absolutely a monster of an album. Highest marks -- "The Valley Path" is an experience not to be missed. (Neurot Recordings)