Valentine and the Regard
Feral Cat Records
Valentine and the Regard = Band of Skulls + Wampire
Valentine and the Regard are hellbent on releasing as much new music as they possibly can. Their latest album, Ragamuffin, is the very definition of blues rock. The album brings back memories of driving through the canyon at too-fast speeds, with the radio blasting and not giving a damn.
The album starts with an introduction that gives a dissertation about the downfall of traditional instruments due to technological advancements. This serves as an ironic message, because the following track, “The Wizard,” is slow, deep and melodic. It is purely instrumental and serves as a great transition that sets the tone of the album perfectly. The guitar playing of Mike Maurer takes us through a melodic trance, not just in this song, but throughout the whole album. They make it easy to get lost and just enjoy this instrumental piece.
The third track on this is definitely my favorite. “Hung My Head” deals with the regret and confusion that comes with a the breakup of a marriage. The tempo and the beat of the song elicit comparisons to the early ’70s blues band Savoy Brown. The song takes us on a repentant man’s journey to understand the reason for the separation. The song is only 2:22 seconds long, so the story is told in piercing one-liners with badass guitar.
The album ends with a slow, rock-infused ballad. “Communicator” takes us on a journey through the demands of a relationship and the things we are not always willing to do. This song brings the album full circle, ending with simple yet powerful guitar riffs. The vocals make a deep message even deeper.
Maurer has an amazing voice, and I would have loved to have seen him really let loose and fulfill his true potential. If you have the chance to see Valentine and the Regard and do not, you’re truly missing out on one of our premiere local bands. –Aaron Jones