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Massive rock songs reduced to a pale imitation of how I feel they should sound.

Madrid’s The Val came to my attention via the wonderfully emotive and melodic ‘A Kiss In A Dragon Night’ that popped up on Youtube a while back. Imagine, if you will, a kind if second cousin to Heart’s ‘Alone’ but done in a slightly more acoustic format, and you will get something of the flavour. Gabrielle de Val has one of those delightful ethereal voices, with nary a hint of an accent, and for this particular track, the backing instrumentation sits perfectly in tune. This is one track that I quite happily pressed ‘Repeat Play’ after every listen, and was surely hoping that the full length album would offer more of the same. However, after repeated plays, I’m left feeling rather unfulfilled.

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While tracks such as ‘Dreaming’, ‘Trapped Between the Lines’, ‘Hold On’ and title track ‘Back’ are typical singer-songwriter sounding numbers, the potential of such great songs as ‘Pay For The Lonely Night’, ‘Johnny’s Got A Red Car’, ‘When Midnight Comes’ and several other are criminally wasted due to the minimalist accompaniment. The vocals are perfectly executed, but in my mind’s eye these are massive rock songs, bursting with passion and power … but here they have been reduced to a pale imitation of how I feel they should sound. And yes, I admit, that is only my opinion, but this band truly has great potential and it pains me to see such an opportunity wasted simply for the lack of a producer with vision, or musicians lacking that little bit of courage to take things up a notch. I’m sure there will be many people that will love and adore the simplicity of this album … but there would have been so many more that would have embraced it had things just been rocked up a little.

Having said that however, everyone should track down the song ‘A Kiss In A Dragon Night’ and put it on repeat play for themselves!

Bruce Mee

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