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JFH Music Review


The Rocky Valentines, 'Erase'
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The Rocky Valentines
Erase



Genre(s): Alt Rock
Album length: 8 tracks: 26 minutes, 13 seconds
Street Date: May 28, 2024


READER RATING:   


The Rocky Valentines, the solo project of one Charlie Martin, debuted in 2022 with a 4-song, self-titled EP full of fuzzy, shoegaze-fueled garage rock that sounded like older Starflyer 59 brought into the present. With the help of Velvet Blue Music, Martin was able to get the name out there and build a small following of faithful listeners. This year, VBM is partnering with Tooth & Nail Records to take it even further and co-release the first official Rocky Valentines LP, Erase.

Right off the bat, "Sing the Song" showcases a considerable amount of growth since the EP, as well as a fuller, more focused sound. The Starflyer influence is still there, but it's a bit more varied, with nods to '50s classic rock in "Take Me Away" (love that 6/8 time signature), hard rock riffs in "Beer Keg," and even a little (and I do mean little) dip into pop punk on the closing track, "Erase." Most of the album favors a louder alt rock sound that keeps drawing from the '90s, but still manages to sound like a modern album with current-day production value. There's a bit of a Smashing Pumpkins vibe, and is even at times comparable to Off Road Minivan's brand of nostalgic alt rock ("Agree" is a great example). Despite the minor genre experimentation, Erase is quite cohesive overall, and the louder, more mature sound feels much better suited for Martin's voice, which tends to be on the nasally side of the spectrum (almost reminiscent of Travis Estes from Medical Morning).

While the music sounds richer and fuller than before, the lyrics still take a minimalistic approach. Each line is relatively short and the rhyme scheme is extremely straightforward. Sometimes this is all to the song's detriment, especially when the song is vague enough to not really explain what it's about, such as "Beer Keg," which briefly says, "When you say that you don't know / kind of makes you feel so low / I don't know, you don't know / work at Woody's 5 hours / change the beer keg, take a shower / I don't know, you don't know." Most of the songs, though, are able to express Martin's feelings through simple, effective songwriting. "Sing the Song" hits on being aware of growing older (relatable), and "Doing All I Can" seems to deal with unrequited love (also relatable). The most poignant track is easily the title track. Martin sings about, and to, an unnamed friend or family member who is dealing with the loss of a loved one. The song empathizes with the friend, touching on the uncertainty and the mystery of death: "When I came home, dad told us the news / I thought it was crazy, we were so confused / people coming in and out of your life / never a warning, just hits like a knife / we're so sorry for your loss today / 'cause we know you want it to erase."

The Rocky Valentines' debut in 2022 was intriguing enough to me that it immediately landed the project on my radar. It wasn't perfect, but it had all the potential in the world. Erase feels like a massive step in the right direction. The music is enjoyable, the lyrics are relatable and pretty accessible, and a few of the songs are surefire earworms. If you're a fan of Starflyer 59 or '90s shoegaze and alt rock, don't let this one pass you by.

- Review date: 3/26/24, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com



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. Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records / Velvet Blue Music
. Album length: 8 tracks: 26 minutes, 13 seconds
. Street Date: May 28, 2024
. Buy It: Bandcamp

  1. Sing the Song (3:30)
  2. Doing All I Can (2:49)
  3. Take Me Away (3:30)
  4. Scream and Shout (3:02)
  5. Agree (3:26)
  6. Stick It Out (3:32)
  7. Beer Keg (2:44)
  8. Erase (3:43)

 

 



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