'Valentine' by Bristol-based Chapter xiii is a melodic hard rock song with a classy, old school swagger. The verses pound steadily along with the occasional burst of buzzy-edged guitar, before opening into a vast, sing along chorus. This polished rock song is jam-packed with melodic, easy-on-the-ear riffs, and as such is an enjoyable listen, even if you're not a fan of heavy rock.
Frontman Lee McCrory has the perfect voice for this sort of music, as he delivers long, smooth vocals that give 'Valentine' a catchy, pop-infused appeal. However, there's also a subtle hoarse timbre to his voice, which keeps 'Valentine's hard-rocking edge intact.
The major downside to 'Valentine' is that there's something very predictable about McCrory's vocal contributions; the high notes and low notes all fall exactly where you'd expect them. However, McCrory's voice will be running through your head long after you've switched 'Valentine' off, and so its predictability can't be a bad thing.
B-side 'Just Because Of You' has an edgier sound than the A-side. The crackly verses have a nicely brooding energy, and the introduction of electronica elements gives Chapterxiii a livelier, more up-to-date sound that's an interesting contrast to the A-side. However, the chorus is nowhere near as accomplished as 'Valentine's, as the same two lines are recycled over and over again, which gives the chorus an empty, filler feel. The mid-song voiceover is also a bad move. Voiceovers are always tricky to pull off in music but, if you're going to do it, then go out on a limb and do it properly. The voiceover in 'Just Because Of You' has a distinctly unenthusiastic feel to it. But, like 'Valentine' this song will get fixed firmly in your head after the first few listens, so Chapterxiii must be doing something right.
This single is far from a burst of fresh air, and it won't have you hailing Chapterxiii as a band about to shake up the scene, but Chapterxiii are very, very good at what they do, which is producing instantly likeable, catchy melodic rock. An enjoyable listen that's guaranteed to have you tapping your toes and singing along.