Tuesday, August 5, 2014

VALERIE "Dangerous"

(c) 2014 Independent Release

  1. Night After Night
  2. Hearts On The Line
  3. Dangerous
BT Valerie--Guitars, Lead Vocals
Augustus Clark--Bass, Vocals
Erlend Omdal--Drums, Vocals
Magnus Christiansen--Guitars, Vocals

Norway's Valerie returns with a self-released EP called Dangerous.  One look at the track-listing and you have to know I was frustrated, as only three songs make their way onto this limited edition release (only 500 CD's were printed).  THREE SONGS!  Let's be honest here...if you are only going to put out three songs and still call in an EP, it better be good.

It is.

Leading things off is the "single" from this release, "Night After Night".  Showcasing a somewhat AOR approach to their melodic hard rock, Valerie kicks things off right here, as "Night After Night" is a solid song that does exactly what it is intended to do: it gets the listener primed and ready for the band's second album, which is being financed in part through sales of this EP.  Ahhh...now I get it!  Anyway, "Night After Night" starts off with an acapella intro, followed up with slick, 80's-influenced guitars that are reminiscent of those used by acts such as John Parr, Survivor, and the like back when AOR and melodic rock could still get airplay in the States.  For those who have the band's first, self-titled release, this song is very much in the same vein and is likely to keep that fan base happy.

The next two tracks are exclusive to this EP and will not be featured on the new full-length record (at least that's the plan for now).  "Hearts On The Line" is very reminiscent of the style of rock played by fellow countrymen, Stage Dolls.  Starting off with an "Unskinny Bop" styled bass line, this song could actually be slipped onto a Stage Dolls record and a lot of people may not even notice.  There is some excellent guitar work here, especially on the scorching solo, and the tight vocal harmonies and locked-in rhythm section really drive this track, which is my favorite of the three here (although all are good).  "Dangerous" rocks a bit harder than the previous two tracks, shedding the slickness of the guitars from the opening track, and adding a bit of grit to the backing vocals.

The packaging, as you would guess, is EXTREMELY simple, with the front cover artwork (pictured above) being the only adornment on the cardboard sleeve the disc arrived in.  The back is nothing but the band's logo, tracklisting, writing credits, and band line-up.  Short and too the point.  It is obvious the band spent as little in the packaging as they possibly could, again largely because they are using money from this effort to finance the second full-length record.

If you haven't checked out the band before, I would probably suggest you go for their debut record, Valerie, as it is 8 songs long and offers a bit more bang for your buck.  However, if you are already a fan and would like to snag a limited edition collectible, Dangerous is a fine, if extremely short listen.

Rating:  At only three songs, I hesitated to give it an official rating, but if forced, I would say this is crankable to the 7.5 range.  Nothing overly spectacular, but very solid and a fun listen.

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