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Monday 20 February 2023

Marc Valentine - Future Obscure


I'm used to writing about American artists who sound so Brit, so its nice to write about a Brit who sounds American. I'm also told I don't write about Power Pop any more, which of course I do, less so maybe, but the genre has been so argued about what is and what isn't that many of the noted celebrators have either left or branded themselves as something else.

Key writers now describe themselves as Indie, Guitar Pop or Pop Rock that it is hard to draw the line where it begins or ends and why worry about such? Surely it is about the music? Why does it have to be labelled? But to my ears Marc Valentine is straight ahead Power Pop and has a vocal that is ideally suited to it.

Future Obscure is an album that illustrates the absolute fun that the genre offers up. Big Riffs, killer middle eight's, catch all choruses and an ability to put a smile on your face. Add in that the album is superbly produced, knows what its about and adds a few surprising twists and unusual sounds. Then there is the artist and Marc Valentine is great at what he does. 

A long time stalwart of the wonderful Last Great Dreamers, this is Valentine's debut solo and it is an absolute blast. A song like Arcades has an ace twanging almost country riff that jumps in regularly. A song about seaside arcades that is very Dave Edmunds sounding. The American influence is confirmed by singing about a parking lot rather than a car park.

Ghosts Of Amsterdam has a riff to die for, Death Is Overrated has a verse that is reminiscent of a 60s death ballad until the chorus. Swiss Launderette adds a Cars like keyboard run and Fade Out In Blue shows Valentine is equally at home when he slows it down. But is the pacy Power Pop that shines most, particularly the splendid Last Train Tonight and Mornington Avenue.

With lyrics that aren't your staple lost a girl love songs, there is far more depth here. Future Obscure is top notch Guitar Pop, beautifully written, beautifully performed with wall to wall hooks and riffs. The CD adds two bonus tracks, one of which may the best song on display, Zodiac Hotel. With Guest appearances from Matt Dangerfield and Wreckless Eric, this is an album to put a smile on your face. 

You can listen to and buy the album here. You can find out more about Marc Valentine here.


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