At their best, American rockers Kickin Valentina are just about as good as it gets if you’re looking for a taste of the late eighties in 2021. But there are a still a couple of missteps on their new album, The Revenge of Rock, that prevent me from throwing my cards down for them totally…
The first two tracks, Freak Show and Somebody New, are exactly the area the band needs to exploit (in my opinion, and only mine, probably!); the first is a sleazy heavy rocker not too far away from the kinda stuff that Warrior Soul have been doing in recent years – DK Revelle‘s assertion that the band is ‘number one with a bullet’ is pure, prime time Kory Clarke! – whilst the second is a catchy, very well written piece of hair metal revivalism that really does capture the glory days of rock radio in the eighties. These two tracks alone make this album worth at least a listen, and later songs like the heavy War and the title track, which closes the album on a high and leaves your ears crying out for more, are both out of the same high quality songwriting class.
But, for me, at least, there are a couple of tracks which just don’t make the cut for this heavy rocker… Lookin For Me is a sort of rose-tinted Bon Jovi look at ‘the good old days’ that just seems to sit awkwardly with the rest of the material on the record, whilst the ballad Heart Tattoo… well, let’s just say that in 1989 this sort of sappiness would have gone down a storm with eighth grade girls whenever it came on the radio but now… not so much. Why chase something (the ‘radio hit’) that doesn’t really exist anymore when you can clearly write great heavy rock til the cows come home?
That’s just personal taste, of course, and it’s a fair bet that this band’s already rabid fanbase will laugh in my face when they hear both those tracks… and good luck to ’em! Kickin Valentina do what they do and for the most part they do it good, and there are enough moments of real classiness here to recommend this to anyone who loves ol’ fashioned rockin!
The Revenge of Rock releases on January 22nd