It’s good to know that amongst all the "majors control music" conspiracy theorists that some people are actually getting off their fat arses and doing more than whinging about it.
There are labels out there who care about the artists they unleash on us, the general public - honest. If you don’t believe me then check this out. Two weeks ago I was as ignorant as the rest of you, cos I hadn’t heard of Valentine Records either, let alone any of the artists on their roster.
This sampler is only the 7th release on Valentine since their conception some 18 months ago, yet the quality of the material on here suggests that they have the potential to rival such institutions as Fierce Panda and Sarah in the "serious collectors of serious music" stakes, and unlike the latter, there is no way on this earth that anyone could attempt to pigeonhole Valentine to one particular sound.
But enough about Valentine, cos I’m sure the objective of this release wasn’t to pat themselves on the back, but to simply promote some of the best (as yet) unknown talent in the UK.
And, to put it mildly, that is what you get.
Opening with the sub-Ladytron orgasmic deluge of THE HI-FI RENAISSANCE’s ‘Erotic/Narcotic’, it’s a breathtaking 39 minute ride from there on in, taking in the pastoral, space rock of CHEVRON and the gorgeous Cocteau-esque melodies of PALO ALTO, before engaging in more electronic madness courtesy of DOUBLE JO(H)N GREY, BYNATONE and I-NODE.
French art punks LES FLAMES quickly up the pace with the delightful ‘Disaster’ ("I’m a disaster in your eyes, you are a genius in my eyes!" muses frontman Alfonse), while EXTINGUISH HER’s ‘Theory Of Forms’ sees vocalist Ellie doing her best Pauline Murray fronting the Doves impersonation and pulls it off in spectacular style.
I suggest that your motto from now on should be "seek and ye shall find".
I did and I found happiness.
10Dom Gourlay's Score