[sic] Magazine

Valerian Swing – A Sailor Lost Around The Earth

It takes all of 10 seconds on furious opener ‘Dr Pengle Is There’ for this Italian outfit to introduce themselves as a totally different proposition altogether. Concocting a huge, melting pot sound Valerian Swing skip through genre boundaries with reckless abandon. The ramped-up production courtesy of Matt Bayles (of Mastodon and Isis infamy) adds an extra dimension too, with this quintet psychotically blazing through math-rock, jazz, metal, post-rock and wild prog styles, sometimes in the space of half a minute. There’s brass instrumentation (‘Dr Pengle..’), there’s swooning orchestration ( ‘A Sea In Your Divine Fast’), acoustic guitar on ‘How Far?’, there’s brooding electronica (‘Nothing But A Sailor Lost Around The Heart’) and there’s even manic Dilinger Escape Plan style breakdowns on the incessant ‘Hypnagogic Hallucination? Sound In The Void’

Though it doesn’t always work, such as the radio-friendly electro groove on ‘The Decent Man’ which is more filler than killer, when it does succeed this band are something special. Case in point is the mesmeric ‘Pleng’ who’s driving bass, manic guitar and skywards hooks will have you head-banging uncontrollably in no time. ’Silent Last Century’, meanwhile, taps into the world of King Crimson, before moving onto a more sedate terrain where their excellent musicianship particularly comes to the fore, then veers off into yet another rampant tangent.

Perhaps Valerian Swing throw too much into ‘A Sailor’s…’ 40 minute running time and there’s a possible argument that the several styles on display here enforces a lack of cohesion over the course of the album. On occasions, it would seem this record is the work of several bands, even in the course of a single track, the pace can be relentless and there’s little respite at times, especially when you really do need to pause for breath. However, can we actually criticise a band that are so obviously talented and so willing to surrender to eclecticism? In my book, the answer is a resounding no! I want more of the same, please!

You can buy this record for $6 on CD via Magic Bullet or order the deluxe vinyl version from Subsuburban, which is exactly what I did.

Review originally appeared at Mike’s blog, Phantom Channel.

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