Marc Valentine – Future Obscure
The Last Great Dreamers are one of a very small group of bands who released an absolute classic debut album, disappeared for literally years but then staged a successful come back (in terms of quality of music if not exposure). It was therefore with an air of sadness we heard the news that the band were ‘taking a break’. Although that was swiftly followed with the exciting news of solo material from the two key members (Marc Valentine and Slyder Smith). There was therefore a sense of both excitement and some fear as this album from Marc was released.
It’s the single “Last Train Tonight” which opens the album and any lingering concerns on how Marc would do without his fellow dreamers are soon put to bed. Together with “Swiss Launderette” they provide a great start to the album. There’s the power pop/rock sound we would expect but if anything the pure pop element has been turned up a bit louder, which is something that we love. Although the crunching guitars opening “Mornington Avenue” introduces a track that could comfortably sit alongside any of the songs on the Dreamers classic debut.
Things get a bit futuristic sounding on “Linear Slopes” which amps up the glammy sound for a track which reminds us of the long forgotten (and sadly under rated) Star Star. That’s one of the key things about this release, it may be firmly based in the expected power pop style but it still sounds very fresh. “Fade Out in Blue” and “Arcades” see Marc ease off the accelerator to bring a more relaxed feel that allows the melodies to shine. Whilst “Ghosts of Amsterdam” and “Death Is Overrated” sound like the winning combination of Bolan singing a Bowie pop song.
Let’s be honest, we’re an absolute sucker for bubblegum pop rock so it should come as no surprise that we love the likes of “Break My Heart Anyway” and “Broken Satellites”. No one was ever going to buy this album looking for some kind of melancholy dirge. But, as we enjoy a rare heat wave in the UK, you’ll struggle to find a better soundtrack than songs like “Zodiac Hotel” and “Electric Chains”. There are so few artists in the UK delivering this kind of quality guitar-based pop songs and we should be doing all we can to support them. We have no doubt that this solo release was a bit of a step into the unknown for Marc, but it has really paid off. So, if you’re a fan of the dreamers or just love a bit of catchy power pop you need to make sure that you go out and BUY this great album.