The Oh Hellos’ Through the Deep Dark Valley casts me into a spiral of Fears and Faiths


I have never felt homesick like this, longing to run down a tranquil path, weaving between tall pines in the amber light of dust. Twilight stretched the skies over me, and the warmth and glow of the sun hit the forest around me. 

At its core, the band The Oh Hellos’ album, Through The Deep, Dark Valley, is Celtic and religion-oriented. It feels traditional with acoustic guitars and smooth percussion. I have been an avid follower of the melodies they produce. Being Christian, my ideals directly correspond through the haunting religious undertones of each song. That is not to say The Oh Hellos are only geared to the church; they are open to interpretation from anyone.

Home-sweet-home, fireside, and bar chants are the first few pictures that come to mind. It rounds niche people together through feelings people were not sure they had. Homesick was the one I could name when I listened to the album. 

The album also conceptualizes an image of people in their minds, shedding a revealing light upon a new canvas with vibrant colors and soft fabric. 

Now, imagine my surprise when this music was released in 2012, got a remaster just three months ago in October of 2022. The Oh Hellos have re-introduced Through The Deep, Dark Valley, and I have never felt this way before. 

My first listen was like witnessing the new dawn of a familiar horizon bursting with life and freshness. It was like jumping into cold water with friends and family on a hot summer’s day.

“Like the dawn” is one of the songs that really stuck out to me. It starts with slow melodies that crests with a build of multiple musical elements and light motifs. The song recounts the story of someone describing a significant other with a spectacular description of “gold of the richest kings” and “brightest shade of sun when I saw you.” It also mentions bones and flesh showing how this person thinks of the other as the same, them being fully human. 

‘Never Leave me…’

“Eat You Alive” then shows the mirror of the first, explaining how the other will eat you alive. It illustrates how there is no point in trying as a relationship will only bring one pain and suffering only. 

“Second Child, Restless Child” recounts the first perspective of experiencing a life full of speed and livid visions accompanied by the quick pace of percussion. This one wanted to follow heaven’s instruction and see the world for what it’s like, no matter the cost. 

“The Lament of Eustace Scrubb” is the story of the second perspective wallowing in guilt of sin and wrongdoing. This one hits me deep as the song sheds light on responsibility and pleading; this one is about how no one wants to go unresolved and how there is a stranger that lies just below that I do not recognize but understand that someday I will make it back around to who I want to be, not burdened by what I’ve done but what I will do. 

“I Was Wrong” now stands outside of the two stories, weaving a tale of the rest who follow the first. It explains how everything was wrong and now there is no way to change past mistakes, but they now admit that they are so, so, so sorry. The following song, “I Have Made Mistakes,” follows that same image but moves past this, continuing into the rain and blazing sun, away from everything that had happened.

“The Truth Is a Cave” straight-up tells one how to finally see the end of strife by seeking out a cave and venturing in with faith to make it out. It describes how they are bound to this path but no longer have to worry about seeing because the one who made them is calling out. This hit hard too because it reminds me of depression and anxiety and of how the only way to get out is by relying on the help of others to help me see the escape. 

The lyrics “I was tired of giving more than you gave to me, and I desired a truth I wouldn’t have to seek” expand my knowledge on how I cannot achieve the things I want with ease but rather strength and faith. 

The album then wraps up with “The Valley (Reprise)” which wraps up the whole project with a bright yellow bow of dazzling hope and dreams. But, it does leave one last sentence of lyrics that will linger in my mind for years to come. 

“Never leave me…”