THE VAL – Back (2012)
The origins of the Madrid, Spain based band THE VAL can be found in the local act Ying-Yang which achieved considerable popularity during the Nineties. When one of their members sadly passed away the group decided broke-up. But after several years, in 2010, singer Gabrielle de Val, keyboardist David Erick Criado and guitarist Alfonso Samos got in touch with each other and from the very beginning they all knew that they wanted to go on with the project they had begun years before.
Renamed THE VAL, a bunch of songs sprung up very quickly and spontaneously, so they were able to begin recording their album “Back” immediately.
The Val’s music has many influences, from Adult Contemporary and AOR to Classic Rock / Melodic Rock. Centered in their charismatic vocalist, these songs are plenty of delicate harmonies and finesse instrumentation.
Gabrielle is a German-born singer, but many years ago moved to Madrid, where she has developed his musical career. According to her, the lyrics were written in English because that’s the language in which the songs were conceived.
The result is a powerful and inspiring recording, full of charm and beauty.
The style of this combo reminds you female fronted acts such as One & The Same, Heart, Ella Baila Sola, Nexx and Venus & Mars.
From the start with “A Kiss In A Dragon Night”, The Val surprises us with an enchanting soft melody, the solid voice of Gabrielle and original instrumentation including convincing electric & acoustic guitars (not with the typical amp set-up) and elegant pianos & synths.
Since the beginning it is clear that The Val sounds like no one, there’s no repeated formulas here.
Next, “Dreaming” indeed tele-transports you into dreamy and breezy classic melodies, where Gabrielle shows her immense vocal ability and diversity. A beautiful track.
But this band is profuse not only in smooth sounds, as the melodic rock infused “Pay (For The Lonely Nights)” and “Johnny’s Got A Red Car” offer a great guitar / keyboard interplay and delicious choruses. Then we have title track “Back”, a perfectly crafted song with a bluesy and melancholic feel. The way all the instruments are orchestrated are really tasteful, again, sounding original and like no-other band.
The rest of the songs maintain the high level, as the melodious and light “When Midnight Comes”, the moving “Every Beat Of My Heart” and the veltety “The Unwritten Songs”, a tune that Ann Wilson would be proud of.
For the end, The Val gives us perhaps the best tune of the album (and they’re all good) with “The Age Of The Sun”, an AOR pumped song driven by a stupendous rhythm and a great vocal job all over bending herself.
The Val’s “Back” is one of the best discs I heard this year.
It’s original, mature, scintillating, from the songwriting to the personal instrumentation and arrangements.
Gabrielle ows one of ‘that’ unique voices which not impacts by the power, just by the class and the way she performs each melody, always different and intriguing. Her bandmates provide as well a musical background rich of varied harmonies and fills with sound settings far from the common.
As minor point production would have needed a little more brightness, but this is an indie release and this does not detract the value of this amazing album.
I think the expression that best reflects the music included in this CD is ‘Good Taste’.
Don’t miss this.
01 – A Kiss In A Dragon Night
02 – Dreaming
03 – Pay (For The Lonely Nights)
04 – Trapped Between The Lines
05 – Johnny’s Got A Red Car
06 – Hold On
07 – Back
08 – When Midnight Comes
09 – The Devil’s In The Band
10 – Every Beat Of My Heart
11 – The Unwritten Songs
12 – The Age Of The Sun
Gabrielle de Val – Vocals
Alfonso Samos – Guitars, Bass, Drums, Background vocals
David Erick Criado – Keyboards, Background vocals
BUY IT !