⭐ / ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

As much as I love Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert’s film and appreciate what big fans the TROLLS are, I couldn’t stand this record. I didn’t enjoy the songs, I didn’t like the performances and I thought the sound quality was poor.

I’m not a fan of the band but I fairly enjoyed their last release, Summer Stench, which I found light and fun with some pretty melodies under the gruff exterior.

However, no such breezy amusement here. Everything sounds like it was recorded on someone’s phone and worse, uninspired and lackluster. Betty Mexico’s vocals are usually front and center, and for good reason, but here they’re buried under the flatness of the rest of the band. What lyrics that are intelligible seem rushed and stilted. The drums sound especially cheap and unconvincing. Garage rock has its place in music, especially in the stripped down power pop the TROLLS are known for, but here it’s just lazy, a shortcut instead of compelling content.

Trying to evoke a scene from Meyer’s campy masterpiece is no easy task and this album fails to do so. What it does do is wear out its welcome very quickly. From the out of tune guitar of the opening track “I am Superwoman” to the post coital “That your old man?,” things go from bad to worse in no time.

Shrill and sloppy, with tepid performances and unimaginative songwriting, beyond the valley is a dull, strident, fruitless affair that left me cold. It has none of the bizarre humor or creativity of its subject and is hard to recommend except to the most diehard of TROLLS fans.