More Trash Alley than Sunset Strip, the self-titled, five-song EP from Kickin Valentina sounds like the grittier bands from the late ’80s and early ’90s making a pilgrimage to Nazareth. Think Circus of Power, The Four Horsemen and Sea Hags. In other words, bands that smell more like gasoline than hairspray.
Hailing from Atlanta and featuring former Rockets to Ruin bassist Chris Taylor, “Kickin Valentina” kicks things off (appropriately enough) with “Get Ready,” a song so whoa-whoa contagious you may not wanna bring it home (check the double-kick fills by drummer Jimmy Berdine).
Speaking of contagious, “Dirty Girl” grinds along on a riff that could’ve been borrowed from Johnny Crash or Dirty Looks. Hard to go wrong with that.
Vocalist Joe Edwards is the band’s diamond in the dirt. Boasting a gruff command of power and rasp, his voice falls somewhere between a heavy metal Bob Seger and a perfectly liquored Dan McCafferty. He shines all over “Kickin Valentina,” but nowhere more so than on the growler ballad, “Alone.” The guy’s got the gift of grit.
“Anita” finds Valentina’s swagger and sway giving way to some boom-boom stomp. Peppered with bits of megaphone vocals, the song has a bit of a modern-rock slant not unlike Rob Zombie. Compared to the rest of the tracks, “Anita” is the EP’s speedbump.
Finishing strong, “Eat and Run” starts with out-of-synch vocals that slowly pick up steam to merge nicely with the hard-charging music. The vocals again steal the spotlight, but the chunked-up power chords and a tasty solo from guitarist Heber Pampillon help make the song an EP highlight.
“Kickin Valentina” suffers a bit from spotty, no-budget production that often renders the guitars a bit buzzy and thin. That’s hardly a surprise (or fault) coming from a rabid, new band that’s still clawing through the dive-bar circuit. Better to get it out raw than not at all, eh?
Overall, “Kickin Valentina” is a rowdy hello from a band that shows great promise as upcoming, heavyweight motor-sleaze rockers.
* Overall Grade: B
* Favorite Tracks: “Alone,” “Eat and Run”
* For Fans of: Unshowered rock-n-roll, battered denim jackets, cheap beer
For more on Kickin Valentina, go here
I have a masters of music in performance, love to listen to opera and tenors, and find this band to be quite exceptional. I love their sound – it’s sexy – and their moves – even moreso. They are quite a treat for the ear and the eye – I always wear ear plugs but decided not to last Friday – I’m so glad! They are going to be very famous, very soon…you wait and see.
Agree with both of you. They show lots of promise. Thanks for reading and posting. Please also feel free to share with your like-minded friends. Thanks!
I would give them an A. For Awesome and Amazing. But i would just give them an A period.
Thanks for the review. Appreciate the glee as well as the candor.
And I appreciate your comment, Brian. An honest, but favorable review. Good band with lots of promise. Can’t wait to hear the full-length. Cheers
I have to say I wasnt as impressed. Singers voice was not all that great unfortunately, maybe with a different singer they might do ok. Jmho
I obviously disagree, Karen, but then I’ve always liked gritty/raspy singers. Regardless, I respect your opinion and appreciate you reading and posting. Cheers!
One thing I can say about this you have to see them live. They really know how to bring it and get the crowed into it
I hope to do that some time. Thanks for reading and posting
I’ve seen KV live a few times and they are a breath of fresh air, I’m glad that this band is putting the fun back into RnR! They will go far!