I didn’t know what to expect when I bought this album because I had never heard of them before and didn’t even know what type of music they were. Fortunately this album provided a unique blend of heavy guitars, heavily integrated keyboards and strong vocals. The band sound resembles that of Firehouse and White Lion, with plenty of fast guitar solos, screaming vocals and catchy melodies.
This could be one of the best releases of the beginning of the 90s. Towards the end of the hair metal era, Valentine released their debut album, where we found here a young Hugo giving us hard driven vocals with passion and melody that should have propelled this band into mass appeal, but also the rest of the musicians doing a very fine team work. Valentine’s self-titled debut studio recording slides in which eleven glam pop ‘n’ roll commercial cuts. Issued by Giant Records in1990 and produced by Neil Kernon (Kansas, Hall and Oates, Michael Bolton, Jagged Edge, Aviator, Britny Fox, etc.), the Valentine album is a spit ‘n’ polish effort that doesn’t push musical boundaries in the least, and although it may be a bit ballad heavy for some tastes, there are still quite a few rocking moments on the album.
Listen to opener “Runnin’ on Luck Again” and you know you’re in for a great ride. The song starts out with an almost science fiction like intro with many effects before an electric guuitar sets in. Once the song itself takes off, it becomes evident right away, which jewel is rotating in your player, because very well arranged melodic metal with crunchy guitars and exceptionally good vocals are coming at your ears and are forming the first highlight of this album. Definitely a really cool opening leaves you wondering what this cd will sound like. But it soon kicks in to a good rocking tune. “No Way” keeps the fire burning, but lack of depth and bass really pulls teh reigns back on this song. The obligatory bic-flickin’ ballad “Tears in the Night” , is aimed directly at love-struck teenage girls who demand non-stop attention on February 14th. The song really screams Journey, and Hugo shines on this song, showing the promise of what he has to offer. “Too Much is Never Enough” is an updated anyway you want it, at least to me anyway, while the two ballads “Never Said it was Gonna Be Easy” (back in 1990 the ‘Kerrang” – magazine, when it wasstill readable, awarded it as “Best ballad of the past decade”) and “You’ll Always Have Me” are just perfect for any rendez-vous you might be on. Hugo really shines on the
slower songs. The strong melodic theme continues with “Someday”, “We Run” and the cutting “Once in a Lifetime”, combine a perfect blend of keys/big guitar solos, killer vocals and catchy choruses. “Where Are You Now” and “Naughty Girl” closing the record with plenty of keyboards, guitar hooks and of course Hugo’s soaring emotional vocals.
All the songs gets the right mixture between relaxed and calm atmosphere and the crunch in the guitars. Also responsible for this is the song list, which produces a very nice flow from the beginning to the end. All in all a complete overview of what AOR in 1990 is all about when done properly. Don’t miss this classic, even though it is rather hard to get by now, if you like this style, there is no way around it.
Hugo lead – Vocals
Neil Christopher – Drums
Adam Holland – Guitars
Craig Pullman – Keyboards
Gerard Zappa – Bass
Mark Radice – Keyboards
Neil Kernon – Instruments
Terry Brock, Jon Fiore – Backing vocals
01. Runnin’ on Luck Again
02. No Way
03. Tears in the Night
04. Too Much is Never Enough
05. Never Said it was Gonna Be Easy
06. Where Are You Now
07. Naughty Girl
08. Once in a Lifetime
10. We Run
11. You’ll Always Have Me
Review by http://melodic-hardrock.com