‘From start to end it’s a hit-affirming, infection filled track.’
Intro to V A L E:
Releasing their synth driven track ‘Fire‘ through SoundCloud in January, East Midlands based duo V A L E proved that they know exactly how to blend infectious riffs with stylish production. As a debut, it was certainly a track that set the bar incredibly high. However, in combining influences from artists such as Fenech-Soler and working with the 80’s vibe they discovered on forming, Olly Walton and Will Bond’s latest track demonstrates that V A L E ‘s musicality is in an even ‘Better Place’ this time round.
Featured Track: Better Place
Setting off with a combination of dominating piano
chords and sustained synth strings, ‘Better Place’ instantly becomes just as infectious as their previous release. Finding the perfect line between power and style, it’s a no-nonsense introduction and as an 80’s inspired, dance- inducing arpeggiated synth line emerges, the groove of the track is found. Within seconds, it gets you going.
Having created such an energetically irresistible sound through the accompanying textures of the opening, Will’s initial vocal grabs you just as much. Projected in a way that balances reflection with power, the lyrics of ‘You were the reason I was riding on the wave’ feel immediately familiar and relatable. Even on a first listen you want to become part of the track and for that fact alone, it’s everything great music should be.
While Will and Olly would be forgiven for keeping the sound in its current form – especially given we are no more than 30 seconds in – on reaching the second verse a highly noticeable shift occurs. Doing more than just hinting at the change to come, the first of many effortlessly catchy guitar lines guides us into a completely absorbing sound. Now featuring driving chord based synths, pounding electro-drum patterns and prominent bass lines, that earlier nod to the 80’s transforms into a full on acknowledgement of the sound they discovered. Sounding as great as it does, you want to thank them.
Moving through the chorus, the musicality continues pour over us in the form of call and response style vocal hooks. Having being drowned in incredible instrumental riffs to this point, you may feel it would be tricky for the vocal to live up to them. But to put it simply, they do more than rise to the occasion. Taking on an alternating form of vowel centred syllables and full phrases, the harmonised, effortlessly earwormy setting of ‘Oooo I still think about you’ mean that like those very lyrics, you will be thinking about them for hours after.
Exiting the chorus, the final verse allows for the re-emergence of the earlier textures but with additional melodic features. Bearing in mind the insane strength of track to this point, it hardly needs anything else – let alone two things. However, if you were going to add more, I can’t think of anything better than two contrasting variations of the vocal melody. Seamlessly interweaving, the combination of delicate bell synth and rhythmically altered guitar are compositionally a triumph.
Having retained its relentless nature in terms of driving textures and phenomenal musicality, you may very well expect this to continue right to the end. But it doesn’t. Well not in the case of the driving textures – the musicality of course remains phenomenal. Instead, a breakdown style bridge sees textural alteration combined with half tempo accents and more exposed vocals creating the perfect led up to the track’s most hit-affirming sound.