Album review: THE VAL – Heading For The Surface

THE VAL - Heading For The Surface

Soundarella Records [Release date 21.11.14] www.theval.es

Here’s  a band who are genuinely thankful for the promotion of their debut album, judging by the massive list of media credits in this package.  It is quite heart-warming when you receive a second album from an evidently promising “new” band, that you’ve nurtured through review or radio,  and it actually exceeds all expectation.

The Val is essentially Spain-based but vocalist Gabrielle de Val is German.  That debut ‘Back’ (2011) hit the spot with our reviewer Pete Whalley even if he did think the AOR vibe was a little bit saccharine.

Nothing has really changed for ‘Heading For The Surface’, although it’s still very well produced by guitarist Alfonso Samos.  Again the lyrics are a little trite (for example on ‘Crusaders’ with its clumsy opening verse) but overall this is a collection of excellent pop-rock songs.

At times, it could be Abba if they’d gone heavier (‘She’s Dumb And Blind’) or a lighter weight Heart (‘Wish You All The Best’).  ‘Roses And Chains’ reminds me of Blackmore’s Night and Candice Night  – in fact Gabrielle provides a similarly pleasant vocal throughout.

If Gabrielle is very pleasing on the ears the band respond in kind, giving these tracks a very late-eighties sheen when hair was high on the agenda and a Desmond Child credit was de rigeur.

Whereas the debut was a tad formulaic, the latest offering takes the template and instils a greater sense of urgency.  With improved song-writing, great vocals and musicianship, what’s not to like?  ****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT

Album review (Back, 2013)


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