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)


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 30 August 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 8 September 2020.


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