The Val ‎– Heading For Surface

CD, Album


Released in 4-panel digipak.

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  • Barcode (Scanned): 8437012015708

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June 15, 2015
edited over 3 years ago
One of the best Female-Fronted Melodic Rock albums I've heard in years.

Reviewing The Val's debut album 'Back' a year or so ago was a frustrating experience, borne out of the fact that the majority of tracks on the album were acoustic-based, yet one could instantly hear the potential these songs had to be massive if just a little bit more edge and drive had been added. Well, here we are with the band's second release, and it seems somebody listened.

Make no mistake, this is one superlative, powerful album, drenched in lush melodies and under-pinned with some of the most emotive and wonderful guitaring from Alfonso Samos that I have heard in a long, long time. Add to this the powerful, expressive, delightful and accent-free vocals of Gabrielle de Val and you have an album that sits alongside Heart's best in the Female-Fronted Melodic Rock pantheon.

My only nit-pick would be the running order, with the more up-tempo, and dare one say, better tracks appearing from the middle of the album. That's not to say the opening tracks are poor, far from it. Main opener after the intro 'Wish You All the Best' is a jaunty melodic track, powerful without being heavy, while the following 'Crusaders' has happy upbeat melodies at odds with its lyrical theme. 'Roses And Chains' meanwhile has an almost Folk melody, evoking comparisons with Blackmore's Night, but it's with 'Up To Where U Are' that the album really takes off, de Val's vocal attitude channelling Ann Wilson and Jaime Kyle, complete with highly infectious chorus and tasteful solo.'She's Dumb And Blind' is a strange title, but a fabulous song, though if truth be told sails a little close to the wind with it's resemblance to Heart's 'These Dreams' in the verses, although turned around by the massive chorus and more delightful soloing. 'Stardust' is the only blot in my copybook being the typical, sultry female Bluesy number that I really can't abide, but following tracks like the Robin Beck/Jack Ponti flavoured 'I Saw Him First' and the achingly familiar melody of 'My Heart Is Beating' soon put matters back on the right track. 'Breathe Me In' is an emotional mid-tempo track with wonderful musical touches, and very much like something you'd expect from Michelle Branch or her ilk, and definitely a hit in waiting. Bringing up the rear, 'Wreckage Of My Heart' sees The Val put the pedal to the metal but doesn't quite work as well as what's come before, while final track 'Borderline' is a short, simple acoustic number, a delightful throwback to the debut.

Bottom line, colour me impressed...very impressed, with the band giving us what, for me, is one of the best Female-Fronted Melodic Rock albums I've heard in years.

Bruce Mee