Wednesday, June 29, 2011

REVIEW: Saints of Valory - Neon Eyes

I expect that most readers of this, or any other US-based music blog, are aware that Austin, Texas is a great music town. And one of the things that makes it great is the fact that the music scene there provides fertile ground for a stream of emerging acts. One of the new bands that has attracted our attention is Saints of Valory. Consisting of Gavin Jasper (lead vocals and bass, from Brazil), Godfrey Thomson (guitars, from California), Gerard Bouvier (drums, from France), and Stephen Buckle (keyboards, from Canada), the band has been compared to Coldplay, The Killers and Kings of Leon. Although I agree that Saints of Valory shares qualities with each of those band, I think their melodies are more playful and uplifting.

In the fall of 2010, the band recorded a six track EP, Neon Eyes, in Austin. The album begins with the engaging "Cover Girl", which bounces along on a hooky melody and a catchy sing-along chorus. The album trends toward the rock side after the opener, showcasing the band's range. Overall, the tunes on the album impress me in two important respects. First, and most importantly, they simply are very good, well crafted songs. Second, the quality of the delivery is top notch. Gavin has a major alt-rock voice, distinctive and emotive, and the instrumental performances are unhesitatingly ready for prime time. If you see this band soon, you'll probably see them in a small venue, and be happy that you did. But I think these songs will easily transfer to bigger venues. And this band may get the chance to prove it.

"The Bright Lights" is one of my favorite tracks, and here is a live version:

By way of contrast, here is an acoustic version of the album's first track, "Cover Girl".

Here is a stream of the Neon Eyes (please ignore the fact that two of the songs are labeled "demo", as I am assured by the band that they are the final versions).

Saints Of Valory by ozonemm

The band is playing a few gigs in the northeast, Florida and Texas this summer. Check out their Facebook page for details.


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