The debut EP from British punksters Valensole has been recommended as for fans of the likes of Sum 41, Green Day, Nirvana; all bands which have been an influence in an eclectic bunch on the Southampton trio. All are flavours easy to understand being used but for us just as potent, maybe even more so, are references to others such as Psychedelic Furs, Reuben, and Pennywise. What it shows is that there are many rich essences in a sound which still is finding its feet and ultimate identity on the evidence of the band’s debut EP, Where We Should Be but a mix and imagination of sound which also ensures that their introduction is an impressive and thickly enjoyable one.
Embracing the punk DIY ethic, Valensole have unleashed their first self-released outing alone, vocalist/guitarist and primary songwriter Elliott Jones taking on mixing duties. The result is a raw and pleasingly dirty affair which it is easy to imagine captures the band’s live presence much more than most encounters do their creators. It leaps from the blocks in potent style with opener Staple Waster. Spicy riffs collude with concussive beats initially, their slim but irresistible bait the intro into a muggy affair of fuzzy riffs and biting rhythms. Jones soon gets involved vocally, that Psychedelic Furs spicing arising as his tones remind of Richard Butler from said outfit with a whiff of Billy Idol too. The track continues to impose and tease with attitude and flirtatious hooks; boisterous punk rock invading and pleasing ears and a quickly forming appetite for the Valensole sound.
Don’t Follow Me leaps in next, its body and character just as aggressively relishing the trespassing of the senses. Managing to prowl around at the same time as devouring them with rapacious energy, the song snarls and growls with the hooks of lead guitarist Nick Jones inescapable and the bass taunts of Dave Parker gripping, his backing vocals to Jones just as persuasive.
An immediately tempting hook spears next up Believe, its salacious tease erupting amidst another scuzzy wash of sound and vocals with a tinge of The Heartbreakers to it. Rolling, rumbling beats are just as virulent in the fiercely infectious slice of rough ‘n’ ready pop punk quickly followed by the band’s new single and EP title track. Where We Should Be taps into an early Generation X scented countenance, riffs and rhythms a magnetically caustic and intrusive yet seductive trespass in a boisterous song quickly involving the listener.
Completed by the enjoyably abrasive and just as often melodically tempered Inside Out, a concluding slab of easy to devour rock ‘n’ roll, Where We Should Be only leaves a want and hunger for more. It is soaked in strength of potential matching its already very agreeable attributes, a mix providing a great first contact with Valensole and intrigue loaded anticipation for their subsequent growth and releases.
The Where We Should Be EP is released through all stores on March 3rd.
Pete RingMaster 02/03/2017
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