Sunday, October 21, 2012

Amy Gore & Her Valentines: "In Love"

This is the time of year when those of us who tend to create such things begin to consider which albums will be making the cut for the omnipresent year-end "Best Of" lists.  2012 has been a damn good year for music, so it will be interesting to see how varied the lists will be this year, but only those without a lick of actual musical taste will leave Amy Gore & Her Valentines' debut In Love off their rundown of the best recordings of the past twelve months.

While In Love is a debut for this particular assemblage, Amy Gore is no rookie.  She already has three albums of killer garage rock under her belt with The Gore Gore Girls, as well as an EP of powerful bubblegum punk with Gorevette (her collaboration with Nikki Corvette).  Echoes of both of those bands are evident here, but In Love is more straightforward rock and roll than anything else, with occasional countrified tinges and power pop riffs surfacing throughout.

The album kicks off with last year's outstanding single "Drivin' Around," and builds on that foundation from there.  Amy's Valentines (guitarist Jackson Smith, bass player Leann Banks, and drummer Joe Leone) are tight and talented, and the songs are strong and catchy.  From tough rockers like "Baby In Your Arms" and "Static" to emotionally charged cuts like "I'm Addicted" and "Remember Me," there isn't anything here that you might call "filler."  The winning track here for me, though, is "Cadillac."  With it's insistent opening riff and earworm-ready chorus, it's the song that jumps out from the pack on first listen; the strongest cut among a consistently strong set list. Throughout, In Love brings to mind a cross between Lone Justice and The Pretenders. Gore's voice especially has notable resemblance to Chrissie Hynde's.

The album exists thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign that allowed the band to record without artistic restriction or record label politics.  Hopefully, the same grassroots support that got the project funded will help to spread the word about this incredible album.  This is definitely one not to be missed! For a taste of their sound, here's the video for the second single, "Fine Without You." Enjoy!