By Various Artists
As the inlays states this represents a "12 month rollercoaster of learning curves, guitar bashing, synth-thrashing and a 'no safety net' approach" and as with any rollercoaster there are some high and low moments throughout this 10 track offering from one of the countries most promising independents. As you would expect from the early steps of such an outfit there are occasional wobbles and falls but for the most part it is safe toddle into it's second year. The mixture of alternative electronica and guitar work is a well balanced one with great prospects in each category.
Openers Hi-Fi Renaissance are by a long way the best pick of the electronic monkeys under Valentines command. It's a beauty with its disaffected female vocal sample. Five Years Later begin the campaign for guitars with a strong mature indie-rock offering. The flat vocals would probably inhibit the song reaching a wider audience. Chevron provide the first low of the CD with a rather witless and mundane noisy offering but Palo Alto get things back on board with their sweet atmospheric warbling. Ladyboy provide incidental electronica that goes by unnoticed. As some dogs look like their owners so to DoubleJo(h)nGrey sounds as confused as the band name - good ideas wrongly packaged. Bynatone capture a real old school feeling with their alt beeps and boops, why it's almost Kraftwerk! The much hyped les Flames! offer some decent garage rock but you can't help smiling at the BV's that sound as if they were recorded by two members of the public brought in for a laugh. Into the final straight and Extinguish Her deliver the closing speech for the guitars with a solid argument in straighter indie only to miss the clinch in the chorus. Closer I-Node provides a less convincing argument for the synths, despite a New Order intro, the overall dated feel reminds of tracks that adorned similar compilations to this circa 1990 - I used to fast forward those as well.
In all a mixed bag, but for a couple, none of these tracks are short on promise and I feel sure I will pursue my romance with this Valentine in the future.