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Valdez: This

What do you get if you combine the talents of Simon Godfrey of Tinyfish, Tom Hyatt of Echolyn, Joe Cardillio of Cold Blue Electric and drummer Scott Miller? You get Valdez and they'd like to simply offer you This. No more, no less, just This. You possibly couldn't get a less assuming name for a debut album. Understated, simple and no matter the outcome, wholly accurate. But we'd like to know more, a little bit of this and that perhaps, maybe some of this that and the other, or possibly a touch of this little piggy?? So let's delve deeper into exactly what This has in store for us.

Surprisingly, given that the main men handle guitar, vocals and bass, between them, it's actually Cardillio's keys and electric piano that sets the themes. However, opener "Black Eyed Susan" is possibly the exception, juddering acoustic guitar and soaring vocals bouncing off handclaps and an uplifting chorus to make a mighty opening gambit. From there things calm down and settle into a more obvious, breezy pop vibe, a less exuberant 10CC as seen through the eyes of Squeeze possibly the outlook settled on. "Thirteen" bounces along, "Sally Won't Remember" almost slides into lounge room jazz meets New Wave, while "Spite House" layers on the vocals and turns to XTC to create the tone. It's all beautifully crafted, excellently performed and just ever so slightly dull. Hair tearingly, there's not a single thing to criticise, and yet, while This has proved to be a perfectly fine little interlude, it's just a struggle to get all that excited about the mid paced meander of "This", the mid paced meander of "No Stone Unturned" or the slow meander of "Driving All Night". In fact it's not until the lengthy, closing, eclecticism of "Colorado/Smile For The Camera" that things morph into shimmers of beauty and enchantment. Suddenly, in this more expansive setting, different moods, themes and approaches are experimented with and a more progressive still gentle and meandering but somehow hard hitting and precise heart is discovered. It may never have been the intention to deliver a full album in this style and yet I can't help but wonder just how much more exciting that might have been.

With the people involved and the style employed, I'm guessing that there's going to be a lot of love coming the way of Valdez and more power to them. For me, no matter how much I might want to like This or think I should like This, or, in truth, find nothing to actively dislike, I can't quite shake the feeling that whatever This is, it's not as captivating as I want it to be.

Track Listing
1. Black Eyed Susans
2. Thirteen
3. Sally Won't Remember
4. Spite House
5. Little Keys
6. This
7. No Stone Unturned
8. Driving All Night
9. Colorado
10. Smile For The Camera

Added: June 4th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: This at Bad Elephant
Hits: 431
Language: english

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