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Live Review: Vallis Alps, Nick Hill, La Mar

7 October 2015 | 5:03 pm | Eliza Goetze

"The pair showcased a range of moods, from slow R&B beats to tweaks of industrial noise and liberal sprinklings of marimba."

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In the middle of a packed Oxford Art Factory, synths blaring around them, two girls looked at one another and sighed, overcome: "Feels," they gushed together.

That sums up the vibe at Vallis Alps' first show to kick off their debut Australian tour, the culmination of a wild journey both figurative and physical. 2015 has seen a long distance musical affair between Seattle musician David Ansari and Canberra singer Parissa Tosif create a big fuss, landing them a spot at Splendour In The Grass, and now, with the pair united in Sydney, they're ready to show off the fruits of their work.

Opening the night was Sydney duo La Mar, makers of ultra-smooth electronica with equally silky vocals. Their sound has developed a sparser, spacier mode with their new single Trick Of The Light, sprinkling beats from Andrew Grant mixing effortlessly with Dylan Wright's honeyed voice - this writer has compared them to the sounds of Chet Faker before and the compliment still stands.

Nick Hill brought things up a notch with his irresistible take on soulful songwriter-producer. His voice was a little drowned out at first - the room immersed in deep bass and pulsing kick drum samples - but was soon rightfully brought up to be the mesmerising focus. From the raw emotion of Silk to the addictive repetition in Know This - "I trust my eyes don't lie/I am/Hypnotised" his performance was, well, hypnotic.

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When Vallis Alps took the stage the hype became clear. The room erupted and remained euphoric throughout their set (as the girls nearby demonstrated with frequent cries of "I love this song SO much!"). Tosif's voice cut through sugary synths and pounding drums, more classical than you might expect on an indie-pop track - think of Florence Welch taking the mic at a CHVRCHES gig. The pair showcased a range of moods, from slow R&B beats to tweaks of industrial noise and liberal sprinklings of marimba.

As well as crowd favourites like Thru - which features an enormously fun marimba breakdown where the beat picks up from a gentle state of contemplation to a rave - and Reprieve, both from their debut self-titled EP, the duo premiered a couple of new songs. From bold hip hop beats to gentle syncopated guitar played live by Ansari, it was all pulled off with polish, Tosif's voice flawless throughout, although it would be nice to hear more of their dense instrumentation live, perhaps even a more stripped-back mode. A surprise cover of Bon Iver's Blood Bank was haunting and delicate.

As the opening keys of their biggest hit Young swelled, the crowd fell almost eerily silent before erupting as the beat fell. It seems everyone loves a dreamy, nostalgic lyric: "Weeks went by and felt like hours/Spring would lie in summer showers/In my hair were winter flowers." Tosif - who had humbly expressed her shock at playing to a sold out venue earlier in the night - clearly drew confidence from the atmosphere, crying out, "Sing it, Sydney!" and the crowd happily obliged. The ecstasy was all too much. "I'm melting," one of the girls nearby declared.