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Album Review: Valencia - Dancing With A Ghost

Valencia's previous effort, 'We All Need A Reason To Believe', was one of my favourite releases of 2008. I admired the bands growth and their ability to step away from the pop-punk genre they had seemed to be tied too. 'Dancing With A Ghosts' sees the band continue this growth, as Valencia are now a mature pop-rock band that has the possibility to breakthrough to greater things. Whilst this isn't as instantly favourable, tracks like 'Spinning Out' and 'Losing Sleep' still have those exceptional hooks that are uplifting and the band thrive on.

The opening title track is a instant reminder of the bands pop-punk origins; good harmonies, a decent beat and a catchy chorus delivered by the consistent Shane Henderson. One of the Valencia's best characteristics is to play on peoples emotions and brilliantly captivate the listeners attention, whilst at the same time make them feel inspired. This is exactly what 'Still Need You Around (Lost Without You)', with a structure that is built on passion and pure energy.

'Dancing With A Ghost' isn't as consistent as some may hope, 'Days Go By' and 'The Way' fall by the wayside, purely because they sound like your regular pop-rock number, although Valencia's approach is admirable. 'Somewhere I Belong' is dominated by sweeping strings and subtle electronica, which is slightly different to the bands usual style and works well for Henderson's voice, it reminded me of one of those generic pop-rock ballads that someone like The Maine would produce.

Nevertheless Valencia show their darker if not angrier side with 'Friday Night'; pounding drums, spiralling guitar lines and bitterer-delivered vocals. Whilst the track stands out, its a style that doesn't quite work for a band who are more lighter in their approach. Ultimately Valencia are more approachable in their (possible) radio rock style (see 'Spinning Out').

This lack of consistency means 'Dancing With A Ghost' turns out to be a record of two halves, one is filled with favourable rock numbers, whilst the other sees a slightly more experimenting band where the variation can be appreciated, in some cases it doesn't quite pull off.

For Valencia they're now left with the choice of either returning to producing a record like 'We All Need A Reason To Believe', or go down a road which will see they become varied.


'Dancing With A Ghost' by Valencia is available from October 12th on I Surrender Records.

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Sean Reid

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