John Barrett guest reviews VALENTIGER’s set at Satellite Records in Kalamazoo for the Western Herald:
From Grand Rapids, Valentiger is a straightforward trio with folksy harmonies and a power-pop sensibility. One way to describe them: imagine Elvis Costello with a twang. Sparkling Eighties guitar patterns meet vulnerable lyrics and a fragile hurt-guy persona that fits these songs well.
When the singer picks up a Bob Dylan harmonica rack, I expect a dose of “Big Heavy Messages.” What I get is the “California Sun” drum intro, snotty “leaving town” lyrics, and great heaps of garage-band blues harp. Taking it down a notch, the next tune serves up country harmonics and liquid-smooth chiming guitar chords.
“Cry” brings on Everly Brothers harmonies and those soft sad chords, draping you in a soft blanket of loneliness. The harmonica is closer to Dylan here, and it fits. The next song seemingly travels on a wobbly rail, as clip-clopping rhythms work off chords that seem slightly askew. They finish things off with “Connection.” Perhaps the poppiest of their set, the blunt rhythmic bass pushes it along as the impassioned words are sung by both guitarists in a way that’s sharp and stunning. A few folky licks sneak through in the guitar solo, and throughout the song, it’s clear they’re having a lot of fun.