VALINA - Vagabond

Valina - Vagabond

10 songs
39:32 minutes
***** ****
Trost / Conspiracy


Valina are not making things easy for the reviewer. Austria has had the reputation to be rather reluctant about musical exports (Mozart and Falco being the exceptions), but once in a while this mountainous country loves to challenge the rest of the world with original sounds... Of course the world seldom cares (I guess the Osbournes are more interesting for the generic consumer), and so hopefuls like, for instance, Sans Secours never made it as big as they would have deserved.

Next in line will probably be Valina, three-piece only, but with a sound that is absolutely overwhelming. Starting out in the mid-Nineties by releasing vinyl-EPs, Vagabond is now their second longplayer, and thanks to the opening slot for Shellac (one of their main influences) on their European tour, they had the opportunity to get their album produced by Steve Albini. For some people this alone would be already reason enough to buy the record, but there is of course much more to Valina than simple name dropping.

The cryptic songtitles (Comes The Horsehead Thinker, St. Petersburg Me Cannibal, Director's Clowns, just to name a few) hide very mathy songstructures which are heavy on the bass side, quite understandable as Valina seem to be a democratic structure where every member has the same rights to be heard. The production is perfect, making it a sheer pleasure to listen to the subtleties in the mix. This is not easy listening, even very challenging at times, and where the term "progressive" has been abused in the past by the most regressive sounds, here you can really apply it, as music transcends its goal of entertainment only. On the Internet, Valina are compared to Shellac and Slint, but in a more commercial description, you might say mid-age Sonic Youth meet the dark side of NoMeansNo, but whatever you say, you can never do their music justice. The best thing is you visit their homepage and download some samples to make up your own mind. 9 points!

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