Dancing With A Ghost

Written by: DR on 27/01/2011 00:06:02

You don't often hear of pop punk/rock band leaving a major label, because one could assume that surely a band in that field would want to get their songs played on the radio more, get extra exposure, which leads to increased album sales, and therefore bigger tours in bigger arenas... but Valencia did. After only releasing one album, "We All Need A Reason To Believe", on Columbia Records, Valencia left them, and re-signed with I Surrender in order to have complete creative control, and, would you believe, actually "hoping to go to some place smaller again". A bold move, but unfortunately one that is not likely to pay off for these boys.

At least, not yet... probably.

Three albums into the career of any band is usually the time when it emerges whether they'll conquer new territories, or not. With this release, Valencia have not; "Dancing With A Ghost" has the feel of usual progression for a pop/rock band. However, it doesn't really matter. Those of you who are looking for a fresh take on the genre, go listen to Marianas Trench, but if you want everything to be solid and familiar, you've come to the right band.

The chorus of the opener "Dancing With A Ghost" sets the tone for what to expect of the album with a hook of "feel your feet moving". With Valencia, it's all about positivity, exemplified by vocalist Shane Henderson's performance in songs like "Still Need You Around", during which he's essentially singing about losing love and resorting, and least partially, to alcohol, or vice-versa (but they probably informed each other), but an honest optimism shines through in his voice. The end product is catchy choruses aplenty. "Losing Sleep" is one of their most aggressive and lyrically poignant songs to date, I hestitate to resort to a cliche as vile as "high-octane" but there we are.

The second half of this album trails off in terms of quality and generally memorable moments, which inevitably hurts the overall grading. For instance, take the flat "Somewhere I Belong", a more ballad-y number which all but ditches actual instruments in favour of sweeping electronics - it's not a good look for them. "Days Go By" and "Stop Searching" aren't particularly bad songs, but they just a feel a little filler-ish.

There were a number of good pop punk releases in 2010, and "Dancing With A Ghost" doesn't deserve to be ranked among them. Mostly because Valencia have pushed their sound into more a pop/rock style - see how theatrical and 'well-produced' "Somewhere I Belong" as an example. The first five songs are all really good, memorable and sincere, though, so it may be the case of the album's second half simply being over shadowed. Still, there's enough here for their fans and fans of the genre.

Download: Dancing With A Ghost, Losing Sleep
For The Fans of: Cartel, You Me At Six, The Dangerous Summer
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 12.10.2010
I Surrender

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